By Ava-joye Burnett

BALTIMORE, Md. (WJZ)– Athletes in Baltimore City public schools will now have to work harder in the classroom before they can compete on the fields.

Every student athlete, parent and even a coach said it’s about time the city raises the standards, because kids have to be ready for college.

Starting next school year before players can suit up for the fields, they’ll have to buckle down in the classroom. Tuesday night, board members unanimously approved a minimum 2.0 GPA requirement and athletes can only have one failing grade at any time in the season.

The move got high praise from parents.

“They have to work hard, that’s what life is about. You don’t succeed if you don’t work hard, so it’s just teaching them early,” said Sherice White, one parent.

“A lot kids do the sports to get into college, but you can’t get into college without that high GPA realistically,” said Anquinett Davidson, another parent.

Baltimore City was one of the last districts to bring this competitive standard to the classroom. Other jurisdictions like Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County and Howard County already required that 2.0 minimum before kids could lace up.

“A minimum 2.0 gpa should be implemented because it will help people maintain their gpa and still be able to play sports,” said Nia Smith, an athlete at Western High School.

With this more rigorous standard, Baltimore City Schools will be expected to increase academic support for students who need the extra help.

Football coach Dwayne Green is also a counselor at Poly, he says these higher standards are already part of his play book as they prepare for college.

“The decision to be a student athlete is a tough decision, it’s a big commitment. Students who can’t do both, ultimately, if you can’t be a student athlete, then you just have to be a student,” said Green.

This 2.0 gpa minimum doesn’t apply to middle school athletes, but only high schoolers.

At Tuesday’s meeting, one board member said the hope is to eventually get all student athletes to an even high academic level of a 3.0 GPA.

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