KUSD raises eligibility bar for athletics and activities

KINGMAN - High school students will have to raise their game in the classroom if they want to participate in extracurricular activities this year.

In June, the Kingman Unified School District Board of Governors passed a requirement for both Kingman and Lee Williams high school students who play sports or are active in certain clubs to maintain a C grade-point average. Middle schools won't be affected.

Kingman High School Assistant Principal and Athletic Director John Venenga described the difference between this year and last. If students kept between a 1.5 and 2.0 GPA and were tutored, they remained eligible. This year the stakes are a bit higher.

A student must maintain a 2.0 - or 'C' average - GPA during season. Grades will be monitored by the athletic departments on a weekly basis. If a students' GPA falls below 2.0 the first week, they receive a warning.

If the situation continues into a second week, they're declared ineligible until grades are lifted. If the situation hasn't improved by the third week, the student remains ineligible for the rest of the season and risks being cut from the team or club.

In past years, most students were eligible within the second week and stayed eligible.

Venenga said students that play basketball are hit the hardest. Those teams play an average of 19 to 20 games in 10 to 12 weeks, requiring consecutive road trips causing some students to fall behind in academics. Once the schedule shifts back to home games, grades improve.

"We try to make sure there's a team that's not gone three times a week," he said.

Although there are plenty of activities and participants, the grade requirement keeps kids on their toes.

"This might affect less than five students at each campus," Venenga said. "It's a nice rule to have and it pushes them to do better at academics, so that's good."