David Butler, the Coolidge High School basketball all-America who sat out the first half of this season to work on his grades, yesterday was declared academically ineligible for the rest of the year.

According to Coach Frank Williams, Butler, a senior, did not pass the required number of subjects to be eligible. District of Columbia Public School Interhigh League rules require any senior to pass all remaining subjects needed for graduation to be eligible for athletics.

"I don't know if it was lack of effort or what. I just know he didn't make it and won't be with us," Williams said. "David sat out the first half to work on his grades and we had hoped he had made progress. Some students don't understand until it's too late."

The 6-foot-8 Butler is regarded as one of the top high school forwards in the nation.

The first semester officially ended Friday. Williams said he learned of Butler's grades and informed him yesterday he would not be able to play.

"David doesn't talk much, but he wanted to know in what subject did he fare poorly," Williams said. "He seemed very disappointed. Now, we just have to continue to work with David . . . . If he does what he's supposed to the rest of the semester, he should graduate on time."

Butler averaged double figures in rebounds and points in both his sophomore and junior seasons in leading the Colts to 46 victories. Then he met with Williams and Principal James Campbell and agreed he would miss the first part of this season.

"I felt it was a good decision to sit out and work on some academic weaknesses," Butler said at the time.

On Friday, Butler, attending Coolidge's game at McKinley, said he was planning to join the team for last night's game against Spingarn.

Coolidge has done very well without Butler. The Colts beat Spingarn and are 14-4, including 9-1 in the Interhigh for a share of first place with McKinley and Dunbar.