High School golfer banned from team… for studying too hard

March 14, 2017

Given the importance placed on high school sports in the U.S., we often hear stories of players being suspended from their teams for underperforming in class. But how often is a student banned from sports for achieving too much academically?

That’s exactly what happened to senior Joe Gesell of Page High School in Greensboro, N.C., according to a local report from MyFox8.

As the report notes, Gesell was an overachiever from the start at his high school, taking extra classes in his three years while playing on the golf team. He worked so hard that by his senior year he had only one required class remaining to satisfy his graduation requirements. Instead of coasting through his final year as many teenagers in his situation might do, Joe took advantage of that free time by taking classes at a nearby community college.

His reward? Getting kicked off the golf team.

Eligibility requirements set by the local North Carolina High School Athletic Association forced the hand of officials at his school, and they broke the news to their star student-athlete that he’d have to hang up his golf shoes.

“I was looking forward to playing on our team this year. 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,” Gesell told FoxNews8.

His father, Mike Gesell, was less forgiving of the injustice, “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? That’s what really stinks.”

Rules are rules, but exceptions can be made, and surely all schools should encourage their students to prioritize their academics over their sports, not punish them for it.

Joe put it best: “You should have students be students first and then athletes, but I’m wondering why in my case why I don’t fit that bill.”