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GPA requirement targets younger athletes in Henrico

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) -- Some Henrico County School Board members say if students do not make the grade, they should not expect to play sports.

In fact, the board is expected to vote on a proposal to set a minimum grade point average for middle school athletes at its next meeting in a few weeks.

Coach Jason Walker says he's totally on board with the idea because he wants to make sure his athletes are gearing up to score big in life. To him, that means putting education first.

"Academics is key," Waker said. "Colleges look at your GPA and not always at your athletic ability."

Walker and other parents are encouraged to know the Henrico County School Board is working to implement a 2.0 GPA for middle school athletes.

If approved, school leaders would check grades two weeks into the season. Athletes who dip below 2.0 won't be kicked off of the team, but allowed to practice. After four weeks, if there's no improvement the student-athlete would be kept out of competition.

Mom, Jennifer Didlake fully supports that.

"It teaches them to work hard for sure. I think it teaches the importance of education and it motivates them. It lets them know if they work hard, they play hard," Didlake said.

Didlake's son, Jackson, is a seventh-grader at Hungry Creek Middle School. He said the  proposed GPA standard would help him keep the big picture in perspective.

"His education comes first and he needs to know that Playing sports is important but education is first, for sure,"  Didlake said.

If the measure passes,  the GPA standard would take effect in 2014.

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