As Dr. Marvin Connelly Jr. begins his official role as the new superintendent of Cumberland County Schools, I’m hopeful he’ll review a policy left over from his predecessor and consider changing it.
Dr. Frank Till first got the CC Board of Education to establish a rule that said no students in the county could participate in extracurricular activities if they did not maintain at least a C-average.
As a college graduate who earned both summa cum laude as well as honors while attending UNC Wilmington, I fully support the push for requiring better grades. School is about learning, and athletes need to know that just being stars on the playing field isn’t enough. They’ll be in the game of life a lot longer than they’ll be playing their favorite sport, and the better educated you are, the better your chance for later success.
But I think the CC policy as it stands now is too restrictive and gives our young people and their coaches an unlevel playing field for battle.
When you remove the chance to play completely, for many of these young people you’re taking away one of the main incentives to be in school and stay engaged. There’s a greater risk of them giving up and dropping out completely.
Our coaches and their teammates are being hurt because some of these youngsters are good athletes who aren’t being allowed to compete, robbing their teams the benefit of their talents.
This especially shows in a sport like football, where numbers are crucial to success. Our county football has shown a sharp decline in recent years, with only Cape Fear advancing to a state championship game in recent memory. There was a time we had a team in the finals almost every season.
I’m not suggesting we don’t hold athletes accountable. The North Carolina High School Athletic Association has a standard they must meet, and while somewhat low, it does hold them to a certain level of performance.
All I’m asking be changed is removing them from the team. We can still require those who are not maintaining a C-average to attend tutoring sessions led by faculty members willing to volunteer.
I think it’s worth a try and would be a great way to kick off the 2018-19 school year on a positive note.
• We welcome two new head coaches in varsity sports at CC Schools. Travis Lemanski, former coach at North Brunswick and St. Pauls, is the new boys basketball coach at South View, replacing Wendell Wise.
At Gray’s Creek, Nicholas Lewis replaces Anissa Little as girls basketball coach. Lewis comes from Pine Forest Middle School.
• Congratulations to Andrew McCarthy, soccer coach at Fayetteville Academy, who has been named the school’s assistant athletic director.
• A reminder that the annual CC Football Jamboree will be Aug. 8-9. To learn about sponsorship opportunities, call Vernon Aldridge at 910-678-2300.
Here is the schedule for this year’s jamboree:
Aug. 8 at Pine Forest: 6 p.m. - Farmville Central vs. Westover, Rolesville vs. Overhills. 7 p.m. - Union Pines vs. E.E. Smith, Triton vs. Terry Sanford. 8 p.m. - Scotland vs. Cape Fear, Lumberton vs. Pine Forest
Aug. 9 at Jack Britt: 6 p.m. - St. Pauls vs. Douglas Byrd, West Bladen vs. Gray’s Creek. 7 p.m. - East Montgomery vs. Hoke County, Eastern Wayne vs. South View. 8 p.m. - Lee County vs. Seventy-First, Apex Friendship vs. Jack Britt.