Changes coming for eligibility review process

Published 8:25 am Thursday, October 31, 2013

Changes in how the Butler County School District determines the eligibility of its student-athletes may soon be on the way.

On Tuesday, the Alabama High School Athletics Association announced that Greenville High School would be forced to forfeit wins over Citronelle High School, Satsuma High School and Sumter Central High School after self-reporting to the AHSAA that an academically ineligible student played in the three victories. Greenville will also receive a monetary fine and be placed on probation for a year.

Butler County Schools Superintendent Darren Douthitt said an investigation was launched after an allegation was made.

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“It was brought to my attention recently that a student-athlete was possibly participating in violation of the academic rule,” Douthitt said. “We immediately investigated the matter and I directed the school principal to report the matter to the Alabama High School Athletic Association. The penalties that result from AHSAA’s ruling will be fully embraced and used as a reason to enhance our eligibility reporting process. Employees of Butler County Schools are committed to maintaining full compliance with all rules and bylaws contained within the AHSAA constitution.”

Douthitt said the student’s ineligibility was the result of classwork from last school year.

“A student is eligible or ineligible based on his or her last two semesters in attendance and summer school,” he said.

According to the AHSAA handbook, students entering the 10th and 11th and 12th grades must have passed at least six new Carnegie units with a minimum composite numerical average of 70 in those six units during the course of the last two semesters in attendance and summer school, if applicable.

A Carnegie unit is simply the amount of time a student receives instruction in a subject.

Four core curriculum courses, such as English, mathematics, science and social studies, must be included in those units passed and averaged.

Students entering the 8th and 9th grades must have passed during the last two semesters in attendance and summer school, if applicable, at least five new subjects with a minimum composite numerical average of 70 in those five subjects and must have been promoted to the next grade in order to be eligible to participate in athletics.

“Checking eligibility involves a simple process of reviewing credits earned and averaging those credits in accordance with the written procedures from the AHSAA handbook,” Douthitt said. “This year the AHSAA provided a new system (C2C) that allows schools to more easily manage the eligibility process. The C2C system allows athletic directors to populate student eligibility records using our data management system (STI-Now) and determine a student’s eligibility within 24 hours. There are still some minor issues with this system so schools still have to review student transcripts to ensure accurate reporting.”

Douthitt said moving forward, the district will also have school counselors review student-athletes transcripts. He said currently eligibility reporting is handled by the athletics director at each school.

“Another layer of accountability must be added that includes a transcript review by school counselors,” Douthitt said.

The penalty announced on Tuesday will keep the Tigers out of the postseason. Greenville is now 1-8 overall and 1-6 in region play.