On January 4, 1999 Coach Carter made news when he locked-out his undefeated Richmond High School Varsity Basketball team in order to push them to improve their grades. When the Coach learned that a few of his players were failing in some of their classes and were not living up to the contract they’d signed, the tables were turned. Left with no alternative, he padlocked the gym and demanded his players report to the library. Carter not only closed the Richmond High School gym, but he banned all basketball-related activities and was prepared to cancel the entire season program, because 15 of the 45 players were not living up to the classroom achievements they agreed to meet in contracts they signed earlier in the semester.
Carter faced confrontation from his colleagues, parents and the school board over his decision. Colleagues were concerned about the school’s morale, parents were concerned about their son’s possible missed opportunity to be seen by college and NBA recruiters, and a missed season meant a loss of money for the district. However, Coach Carter’s methods proved successful and had a positive impact on the entire team and the school.
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