Sports credits on Oak Park High School transcripts

Why aren’t student-athletes receiving more credits after the 20-credit P.E. requirement?


Courtesy of Derica Chiu

For seniors who have recently looked through their transcripts, students and parents have said that something seems wrong. Student-athletes’ transcripts show 20 credits required for physical education, but some are confused as to why their credits do not carry over to show they have continued with their sports. 

Students at surrounding schools acquire credits for every year they participate in their sport. In comparison, when looking at a transcript of an athlete at OPHS, it seems like they only played for two years. Three and four-year athletes are not getting recognized for their participation after the first two years. 

Parents recognized this as early as March of last school year. Marcie Braddock, the mother of senior Riley Braddock and freshman Conner Braddock, noticed this issue. Braddock, who was on a college admissions committee, expressed that colleges have hundreds of applications to look through; in a first-glance pile, they look at GPA, classes taken and extracurriculars, as well as standardized test scores. 

“If you compare an Oak Park High School student-athlete’s transcript to that of a Westlake High School student-athlete’s transcript, an admissions committee member could infer that the Oak Park High School student couldn’t handle both sports and academics after their first or second year and chose to focus on academics,” Braddock said. “However, the Westlake High School student was able to manage both for all four years.” 

Other schools in the surrounding area, like Agoura High School and Westlake High School, give credit for every sport they play and every year they have played the sport. For example, if two students have the same GPA of 4.2, one student will show that they have balanced school and sports for all four years, while the Oak Park student looks like they quit and solely dealt with school for the remaining two years.

This may be a disadvantage for OPHS student-athletes since colleges’ first-glance could overlook their extracurricular achievements, even if they put in the same amount or more effort as students at surrounding schools.

According to the Student and Parent Handbook, students that complete a full season of athletics will earn five credits towards the physical education requirement. For each sport they play, they receive five credits, just like one would get if they participated in four semesters of physical education. The 20 credits are noted on the transcripts but do not count towards a student’s GPA.

The superintendent of Oak Park Unified School District, Dr. Jeff Davis, looked into this issue and hoped to look for solutions. 

“Since late last spring the high school administration, counselors, myself and some of my district Leadership team members have been reaching out to colleges, universities and other high-achieving high schools to look into the topic of placing all sports credits on the academic transcript so that we make the most informed and best decision for our students at OPHS,” Dr. Davis said. “We’ll have a decision on this very soon.” 

Brooke Ly, a multi-sport athlete at OPHS, has expressed the same concerns about her transcripts. She feels that it does not correspond with the pressure that student-athletes feel from balancing sports and schoolwork. 

“Athletics is one of the greatest parts of the high school experience for so many students who choose to devote themselves to a team and it is only right that they receive the proper credit,” Ly said. “It is the responsibility of a school district to do what is in their students’ best interest, and providing each student-athlete the greatest advantage next to other student-athletes looks to fall under that category.”

Even if a student is not being recruited for sports after high school, it is still crucial for colleges and universities to see that the student has continued their sport to show perseverance and commitment. 

Another parent, Kim Heidt, mother to senior Rowan Heidt and junior Holden Heidt, expressed her opinion as well since she feels as if students are not given the credit reflecting that sports are more than a physical game.

“OPHS is part of the CIF, Southern Section which is the state-run governing body of sports for our school. I feel participation in any activities like sports that have official oversight from the state should, at the very least, be listed on a student’s academic transcript,” Heidt said. “Sports are physically challenging, but they also require mental agility, discipline and courage. I would argue that sports are, in fact, academic.”

Clarification from the administration in terms of how this issue is going to be handled would be helpful to alleviate the worries of these students and parents. Even if the outcome does not fall in favor of student-athletes, parents suggest there should be a spot on transcripts that recognizes how many years a student has played their sport.