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Athletic Eligibility-Pass All to Play

Sports Eligibility, Grades

Athletic Eligibility-Pass All to Play
The state of Iowa has created new requirements for athletic eligibility that took effect at the start of the current school year. There are several changes to the previous law. Under the old system a student was required to pass a minimum of four of his classes for the semester or he would be ruled ineligible for the following semester. The new regulations specify that if a student fails any class, he or she will be declared ineligible for competition for 20 consecutive school days (baseball and softball is 4 weeks). The new rules are a minimum standard that schools must use and apply. Each individual school may adopt or continue other school specific guidelines for participation in athletics that have no influence on the state regulations.


There were other changes as well in the new state guidelines. One of the most important is the restriction regarding which sport the ineligibility will apply to during the school year. For 9th grade students the application has not changed much. Any 9th grade student with one failing grade or more at semester will be ineligible 20 consecutive school days of competition beginning either with the first date of allowable competition or immediately if the season is underway at that point.
The ineligibility rule is not quite as clear for tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade students. Any student in these grades who fails one class at semester will be declared ineligible for the next sport that he or she participated in the previous year. The ineligibility may not be served for a sport that the athlete did not participate in during the previous year. The Iowa High School Athletic Association refers to this as an athlete being a “bona fide” competitor.


There is a long list of questions and examples that are addressed by the Iowa High School Athletic Association that are not addressed in this short article. If you have questions about the new guidelines, please access the IHSAA’s website and read in detail about the new eligibility rules.

The address is http://www.iahsaa.org/academic_guidelines.htm.

Example- A tenth grade student who does not pass all classes first semester of his 10th grade year will be ineligible for the next 20 days of any sport that he is a bona fide competitor. During his freshman year the student participated in football and track. Therefore, the student’s ineligibility must be served during football or track of the next school year, whichever comes first. Since the student’s next sport in which he is a bona fide competitor is track, he will be ineligible for the first 20 school days of track season. If the student does not participate in track, then the ineligibility will apply to football.