New athletic director implements mandatory study hall

Kezia Cook, Staff Reporter

Student-athletes have a full time job of maintaining academically acceptable grades while fulfilling their duties on the court or field. With the pressure of meeting the standards in both areas, Cleveland is now requiring sports teams to have mandatory study halls. This new policy was initiated by administrators and the new athletic director, Chris Bryant.

“With how much school student-athletes are missing, we decided it would be good to make sure we are accommodating for that in other ways, to make sure they are staying up-to-date because we like to prioritize academics over athletics,” said Bryant.

He explains that student athletes are required to be in study hall for at least two hours a week on a schedule set at their coach’s discretion, but with no exceptions. Students must have a minimum grade point average of 2.0 and passing seven out of their eight classes. If the student is only taking seven classes, they must be passing them all. Bryant said the study hall is helping, having seen a significant improvement in grades.

“We did have numerous teams that were able to get either a 3.5 or 3.75 as a team, so we’re very proud of that,” Bryant said.

Although mandatory study hall is meant to benefit all athletes, some teams don’t always need the extra study time.

Ryan Kastl, who coaches golf and boys swim, said the addition of study hall has not affected his golf team, but called the new policy “an excellent idea.”

He also noted that when their designated study hall time approaches, the number of athletes who don’t show up is noticeable. He scheduled the golf team’s study hall time during advisory time.

“[Golf] won two state academic championships, so I didn’t see a lot of need for the golf team to have it because they have been successful before,” he said.

Kastl said attendance in his study hall is about 50 percent, but he’s not worried.

“I do not punish them because most of them are at a 4.0 or very close to a 4.0,” he said.

As his teams grow, Kastl is sure he will have athletes who will require a more structured study time.

The football team has taken a more serious approach. Junior Thaddeus Driscoll, who plays left tackle, has found the study halls to be useful and effective.

“It gives us more time to do homework and catch up with school work that we don’t necessarily get after practice because we’re tired and it ends later now,” said Driscoll.

With the addition of getting more time to complete school work Driscoll appreciates the extra help and guidance study hall provides.

“There [are] so many people there, and we can help each other out,” he said.

Student athletes have a common ground when it comes to the balance of grades and practice, but every student has a different academic career. Girls swim team member KyLe’cia Bryant finds that the enforced study halls have had no effects on her grades. Her team decided to do study hall on their own time.

“If we’re in the same subject and we need help with homework, I am going to ask them questions on what the homework was or if they could help me with the problem,” said Bryant.

Study hall, no matter how it’s executed, is meant to support and benefit student athletes when it comes to academic goals and grades. It gives student-athletes the chance to help and support people who are sharing the same struggle.

“A lot of our teams and student-athletes have grade struggles,” Kastl said. “I think it is a positive step to make academics the focus and not athletics.”