The Kentucky High School Athletic Association recently released a full list of schools which approved Kentucky’s new Senate Bill 128, AKA the “do-over” year bill.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed Senate Bill 128 into law in March, allowing students in grades K-12 to request a "do-over" year for the 2021-22 school year. The bill addresses problems created by the novel coronavirus pandemic and the lack of in-person learning.
Under the new law, school districts are required to either approve or reject the entire group of students who request the extra year and not rule on each student on a case-by-case basis.
The KHSAA has published a list of which school districts will allow their students to repeat their current grade.
According to the KHSAA list, six Northern Kentucky school districts have allowed their students to add a supplemental year, representing 11 high schools in the area plus all of their feeder schools.
The districts are Beechwood, Boone County, Covington, Dayton, Erlanger-Elsmere and Kenton County. The rest of Northern Kentucky has declined that option, including all private high schools.
Schools are required to submit to the KHSAA the names of all of their students who are taking the supplemental year, but the KHSAA is required to keep the names concealed from the public. Students are allowed to announce their decision on their own.
In the wake of those approvals, at least five Northern Kentucky high school student-athletes have announced they will repeat their current grade and reclassify.
The highest profile student-athlete is Beechwood senior Cameron Hergott, who announced he will reclassify to the Class of 2022 and stay at Beechwood.
Hergott, a three-year starter at quarterback, led the team to state championships in 2018 and 2020. He was named Mr. Football this past year, winning the long-running Associated Press honor of that name, plus the new award given by the Kentucky Football Coaches Association.
At the time of his decision, Hergott had accepted a preferred walk-on offer from the University of Akron in the Mid-American Conference, and was hoping to use the summer to get more recruiting exposure through camps.
In June, he accepted a scholarship offer to Division I Eastern Kentucky University, who competes in the Football Championship Subdivision and is moving to the Atlantic Sun Conference this summer.
At least three other Northern Kentucky football players have announced they will reclassify.
Hergott’s Beechwood teammate Xavier Campbell, who was a sophomore, will reclassify to the Class of 2024. He plays on both lines for the Tigers.
Xavier Smith, who attends Cooper High School in the Boone County school district, was a senior this past year but has reclassified to the Class of 2022 and will return to the Jaguars this fall. He was Cooper’s leading receiver in 2020 with 23 catches and four touchdowns.
Nick Keller, a soccer and football player for Conner High School in the Boone County school district, was a senior last year but has reclassified to the Class of 2022.
A placekicker for the Cougars on the gridiron and the second-leading scorer on the soccer team last fall, Keller in June received an offer from the University of Louisville football team as a kicker.
Another Boone County student, Austin Johnson from Ryle High School, has reclassified to the Class of 2023 after completing her junior year.
Johnson was a starter for the Ryle girls basketball team this past season. As a freshman, she was a key rotation player for Ryle’s 2019 Sweet 16 state champions, then missed most of her sophomore season due to an ACL injury.
She will be one of four returning starters for one of the top girls basketball programs in the state, and none of those four will be seniors.
Northern Kentucky’s high schools are an outlier compared to the rest of the state.
According to the KHSAA list, 201 high schools in the state are allowing reclassification, and 83 have declined, totaling 70.8 percent approval.
Kentucky's largest school district, Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, approved all supplemental school year requests at the end of May. More than 770 students in the district will be repeating their current grade in the 2021-2022 school year, according to a report from the Louisville Courier-Journal.