“The ‘perk’ of being a Wildcat athlete”

Summer Moore, Assistant Editor in Chief/Business Manager

Many wildcats are unaware of the Illinois athlete exemption for P.E. classes. This policy allows junior and senior athletes of a ISHA sport to be exempted from P.E. classes. Bill Casey, the PE department chair at Neuqua Valley High School, states, “it has been here for a good 15 years or more since this policy has been around.”

To obtain this “privilege,” an athlete must fill out a form and get it  signed by their coach, parents, and PE department chair. When a student chooses to use this policy, they are assigned to a PE class, where they must report for attendance and a grade. Then they are required to sit in the hallway and work on whatever they need to until the bell rings and they are dismissed. There are few grades and many are based on whether or the student dresses therefore, this opportunity can pose a   risk to a student’s GPA.


This exemption can also pose a risk to the student’s  health. Although they are working out in their sport, they may not be getting all the benefits a P.E. class has to offer. Casey explains that, “in sports, [athletes] may get physical activity, but it may only be focused on one piece of [their] overall wellness.”


Casey then goes on to say, “The way we’ve made  [the PE program] is going to take care of your overall wellness.” This is why Casey, along with other PE department members, believes that PE exemption is not a productive option.


Because the department believes PE to be more holistically beneficial than sports training, they have chosen not to advertised the option for exemption to athletes.   This has led to relatively few athletes taking advantage of the policy. Only five students have chosen to do so this year.