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What does it take to make the NCAA? High school athletes getting to know

McKinley High School

Buffalo Public Schools want to make sure high school students who want to play college sports knows the rules.

City schools have not had many athletes who make the big time. Usually it has been because grades were not high enough to meet NCAA standards.

Now, starting in seventh grade, the district is training coaches, guidance counselors and parents, as well as the students themselves about those rules. Athletics Director Aubrey Lloyd said the district is moving aggressively to explain the rules on grades and change who is briefed on the rules.

"They kind of figure this out kind of late, sophomore year, junior year and they're already prying academically, so part of the blueprint for the NCAA for our student-athletes is to target our seventh and eight graders and educate them and their families about the NCAA and then they'll be knowledgeable that, hey, if I have to take a remedial class in ninth grade I have to take a class that the NCAA Eligibility Center requires," he said.

Lloyd said the rules are not well understood.

Credit Avery Schneider / WBFO News

"Not quite, okay, and that's our job, as administrators in the school district with the guidance counselors that you get the families and the student-athletes," he said. "We have a pocket of students all around the school district, mostly recently Olmsted graduate Isiah McDuffie going on to Boston College, okay, but his father is well-versed in the NCAA. Going to UB, he's sent many student-athletes. Just like our other coaches, Randy Rich over in Middle Early College sending students on to higher education."

This is all part of major changes in city public school sports, from adding many sports and teams for girls to looking into potentially very expensive additions to buildings and facilities to provide fields and courts for the additional teams and sports.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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