FHSAA to immediately implement new statutory provision relative to 2.0 grade point average for athletic eligibility

GAINESVILLE – The Florida High School Activities Association announced today that it is implementing immediately a new statutory provision relative to academic eligibility for students that was passed by the Florida Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jeb Bush last month.

Associate Commissioner W. Daniel Boyd Jr., who oversees athletic eligibility for the Association's 615 member schools, said today that ninth graders who do not have a 2.0 cumulative grade point average at the end of the current spring semester may be eligible to participate in interscholastic athletics next fall if:

(1) They have earned a 2.0 grade point average in courses taken during the current spring semester;
(2) They sign an academic performance contract with their school; and
(3) They enroll in and attend summer school as necessary.

"It is important that the Association does not wait until the normal effective date of July 1 to implement the academic eligibility provisions passed by the legislature," Boyd said. "Otherwise, ninth-grade students who could become eligible next fall would not have the opportunity to do so because they might not attend summer school.

"Principals and athletic directors should now inform ninth-grade students who are in this situation of the new opportunity afforded them. If they have the 2.0 GPA for the spring semester, regardless of their cumulative GPA, they can become eligible next fall by signing the contract with their school and attending summer school."

The new provision applies only to students currently in the ninth grade. Students who currently are in the 10th grade and will be entering the 11th grade next fall still must have the 2.0 cumulative grade point average to be eligible. So must 11th grade students who will be entering the 12th grade.

Senate Bill 92, which was passed last month by the Florida Legislature, amended Section 232.425 of Florida Statutes that establishes standards for student participation in interscholastic extracurricular activities. Before the amendment, it stated that a student must maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average in all courses taken that are required for graduation to be academically eligible.

A 2.0 cumulative grade point average is required for graduation from Florida's public high schools.

The FHSAA believed requiring the student to maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average to be harsh because a student whose initial academic performance in the ninth grade was extremely poor might not be able to pull up his or her cumulative grade point average for several semesters, if ever. The Association proposed a change in the statute that led to the drafting of the bill that eventually was passed and signed into law.

The Florida High School Activities Association is the governing body for interscholastic athletics in Florida. It has a membership of 615 middle, junior and senior high schools.

Dan Boyd
Associate Commissioner, FHSAA
(352) 372-9551 ext. 110
dboyd [at] fhsaa [dot] org