By: Sue Godfrey—
An innovative basketball league that leverages students’ love of sports while promoting stellar academics will kick off its 2016 season with a Draft Day on Feb. 6 at Muncie Central High School. The Inner City Educational (ICE) League motivates participants to be strong student athletes as they move toward high school and post- secondary education.
The ICE League sets the grade point average bar at 2.5 and higher for students who wish to fully participate in the basketball league for 6th-8th grade girls and 7th- and 8th-grade boys in Muncie Communi- ty Schools. In the inaugural 2015 season, the League had 69 7th- boys participate, as well as 11 coaches.
And the impact of the ICE League extended beyond the first season. In the first year of the ICE League, 50% of players increased their quarter play eligibility because of improved GPAs.
A partnership with the school system and permission by students’ parents allows the League to monitor student GPA eligibility before the February draft and progress during the expanded 9 week playing season. Students with a 2.5 or higher GPA are eligible to play all 4 quarters, while students with 2.0 to 2.49 GPA opportunity to play is more limited. When asked if the GPA-based model made the ICE League different from other leagues, the YMCA’s 2015 ICE League Champion Coach Dennis Trammell answered, “GPA definitely factored into our draft decisions. We didn’t want any 1- quarter players. But I don’t think that’s any different than college coaches’ draft decisions. They also prioritize GPA because they can’t depend on players who struggle in high school being able to be eligible to play in college.”
The oversight non-profit organization for the ICE League is Project Leadership. The League is comprised of three teams (7th-grade boys, 8th-grade boys and 6th- 8th grade girls) at each of the four core ICE League member organi- zations — YMCA of Muncie, Buley Center, Ross Center and Boys & Girls Club of Muncie.
Girls in 6th-8th grade and boys enrolled in 7th or 8th grade at Northside or Southside Middle School who have an interest in trying out for the 2016 ICE League should complete an interest card online at iceleague.org, one of the four centers, or Southside or Northside school offices.
Draft day will take place on Saturday, Feb. 6th at the Muncie Central High School gym. The draft times are as follows: 9 a.m.: 7th-grade boys;11 a.m.: 8th-grade boys; 1 p.m.: 6th-8th grade girls.
For more information about the ICE League, contact Dick Daniel or Kaye Harrell at Project Leadership at 765-896-8616 or visit the ICE League website at www.iceleague.org.
Sue Godfrey is Director of Advancement with Project Leadership