The Loop

North Carolina blocks kid from playing on high school golf team because...he passed too many classes?

March 14, 2017

At times, our society has an unhealthy infatuation with youth sports, raising athletics higher on the priority list than it warrants. But most realize that education takes priority, such as the case for Joe Gesell of Page High School in Greensboro, N.C. Gesell doubled up on his classes during his freshman, sophomore and junior years at Page, needing only one course during his senior campaign to graduate. Though he remains an active Page student, he's also taking classes at a nearby community college to fill his schedule.

And for his diligent academic work, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association -- in its infinite wisdom -- has ruled Gesell ineligible for the Page golf team, according to Greensboro's FOX 8 News.

"I was looking forward to playing on our team this year," Gesell said to FOX 8. "I feel like we're going to have a really good team and a really good chance to make it to states, and not being able to do that, it's a big blow. It kind of sucks."

The NCHSAA does not count Gesell's work at a community college, only tallying his one course at Page. In that view, he falls short of the association's prerequisites.

"He went above and beyond and yet now you're going to abandon him and leave him to not participate and not support his school after he did everything right?" Gesell's father, Mike, told FOX 8. "That's what really stinks."

We understand the rule's purpose, but clearly the enforcement -- at least in this instance -- deserves a second interpretation. Or else, what type of message is the state sending? "Try hard in class, kids...but not too hard."

Here's hoping the NCHSAA takes a second look at Gesell's plight and utilizes common sense.