West Virginia GPA sports waiver creates obstacle for golfers

West Virginia

MASON COUNTY, W.Va. (WOWK) — High school student-athletes need to maintain good grades to participate in extra-curricular activities. Since the pandemic may have had a part in grades dropping, the West Virginia Board of Education has approved a limited GPA waiver to help these students catch up.

Student-athletes rely on maintaining a certain GPA for playtime eligibility. Going from in-person to remote learning and vice versa was a struggle for many, but the six to nine-week evaluation period included in the waiver is designed to help students get their scores above a 2.0.

During that period, students who fell below a 2.0 would be able to attend practices, but not compete until the six to nine-week period is complete. However, not every student-athlete can benefit from this.

Mason County resident Gary Mitchell’s son, who plays golf, was one of many students who fell below this line last year. He said this waiver may be fair to kids who compete week-to-week.

“The time period it’s just not fair to every sport. The golfers are going to be done by that six-week period comes up… That’s the end of their season,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell’s son is a senior and hopes to land a college scholarship for golf. If the current waiver is left in place, he could lose his entire last season.

West Virginia State Superintendent of Schools Clayton Burch said he is well aware of the issue and a formal discussion on the item is a possibility at their next board meeting.

I think golf will probably be discussed because those students at the sixth and ninth week are much further along on their season than the other sports.

Clayton Burch, West Virginia State Superintendent of Schools

Mitchell said even if the waiver is pushed back after the meeting, the golfers would still miss several competitions.

In response to the tournament eligibility requirement issue, State Superintendent Burch said, “The WVSSAC and the state board would have to come to an agreement on not only waiving the timeline for golf… it would require WVSSAC considering a waiver on the number of competitions to play in that section or regional tournament.”

The state board or the WVSSAC has made no formal announcement on if a different waiver would be allowed for golf.

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