Gil Padilla has coached generations of baseball at Las Cruces High School for nearly twenty years.
“There’s just been a lot of great kids come through the program," Padilla told ABC-7. "I’ve also started to coach the kids (of previous players)," Padilla said.
Padilla is in favor of a new policy from the New Mexico Activities Association that would prohibit high school student athletes from failing a class and competing in any sports activities.
"Their title is student athlete," Padilla said. "Student comes before athlete."
Under the new policy, eligibility for athletics will be determined by semester grades, not six or nine-week period grades, according to the Associated Press. Students also must have above a 2.0.
Padilla said previously, students were ineligible to play sports after two failing grades. He said upon visiting a school, college recruiters ask almost immediately about a student athlete's grades.
"One thing I always preach to my players is that baseball is going to be taken away from them at one point or another, whether it’s a year, two year, ten years down the road," Padilla said. "But an education - no one will be able to take that away from you.”
Students will be able to retake courses in the summer of 2018 to be eligible to play again.
"If you can handle it in the classroom, that means you can handle it in the courtroom or on the field," Padilla said.