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Comments about ‘Utah High School Activities Association committee will examine impact of socio-economics on high school sports’

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Published: Thursday, March 27 2014 9:15 p.m. MDT

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sportstats
SLC, UT

I think it is more than the poor schools that suffer. Four teams qualify for state tournaments from each region generally. Some regions are superior and a sixth place team could finish first in another region. I wish they could align the schools so these tournaments get the best teams.
Some of the not so rich teams never get a chance just because they are in a tough region.

4blade2007
Provo, Utah

Has the UHSAA made a final decision about Wasatch Academy? Are they going to participate as an independent or 2A next year?

beehive801
Salt Lake City, UT

@4blade2007: Yes, they will be participating as an independent.

Rural sport fan
DUCHESNE, UT

Sure wish we could get a report on what the re-alignment proposals actually are, and how they think they would institute the proposal about socio-economic status.

If the UHSAA were a little more up front about this stuff, they might not get attacked so much when they spring obviously flawed plans as a done deal.

dhsalum
Saint George, UT

Can someone tell what participating as an independent means? I assume they could still fill their schedule, but can they not play in a state tournament??

Ironmomo
Ogden, UT

Congratulations to the UHSSA for looking into the socio-economic issues facing schools. I believe it is a real issue and I also believe that the UHSSA can come to some compromise in region alignment that would be beneficial to high school sports and athletics around the state.

MormonUte
Centerville, UT

I have coached basketball in Utah for 23 years, high school, junior high, and a little college. Socioeconomic factors play such a huge role in high school sports. I currently coach at a fairly affluent school, but I spent about 15 years coaching on the "west side". It is so hard to compete out there. You have a lot of kids who haven't played anything above Jr. Jazz or church ball until they are 12 or 13, and when they play the Lone Peaks of the world, they are going against kids that have been playing together on a comp team since 3rd grade. That's the economic part. Then you have the social part. I teach and coach at a school where I would say about 95% of the kids come from a stable home! either living with both of their still married parents! or maybe one parent and a very stable stepparent. When I coached on the west side, many of the kids came from single parent homes and were moving from apartment to apartment, and even from school to school every year or two. Coaching at Cyprus, Hunter, Kearns, Granger, etc. is another world compared to Loan Peak, Davis, Bingham, etc.

eagle
Provo, UT

I guess I'm glad this guy put the research out there but plenty of anecdotal evidence along with just plain common sense you could have figured this out. Also, many schools are going through these transitions. Provo High, for example, has gone from middle class to a more lower middle class situation. 14 years ago it won the All-State award in athletics, the last year few years it has been towards the very bottom.

The other elephant in the room does go beyond money. If your school has a large Latino population, it tends to suffer athletically as this population base is not engaged in their schools generally. Unless this can be addressed in a serious way, those schools with large Latino populations, along with a general lower socio-economic base (as the two are tied together) will not do well athletically. This is also tied into the fact that Utah schools with extremely large classes are generally ill equipped to deal with these issues. Not only will the athletic departments of lower socio-economic and racially/ethnically diverse schools generally struggle, these schools will generally struggle in all facets.

eagle
Provo, UT

Obviously money matters. And with super leagues, competitive all-year teams, along with camps and clinics costing hundreds if not thousands of dollars, the wealth gap leads to competitive gap. This is a general issue across our country.

But there is also a deeper issue with a Utah twist. It is how Utah integrates, or fails to integrate, its ethnic, mostly Latino, population into the broader culture. Then there is the lack of commitment in dollars and resources to the instruments that might help students of color in our schools. Instead, we have large classes. Students from lower socio-economic backgrounds, along with ELL's (English Language Learners), languish in our schools. I would bet if you went to Granger, Kearns etc. you would find a disproportionate amount of potential student-athletes who would be academically ineligible to compete even if they had the desire. Plus you have the issues of gangs and general disconnect. On top of that those of lower socio-economic status often come from less stable homes that provide support and structure.

This is a multi-layered issue in our schools and athletic competitiveness is just one problem area.

Me, Myself and I
The Promised Land, UT

I think socio-economics might be more of a factor in the larger classifications. Most small communities in rural Utah are the poorest in the state and yet many have very strong winning traditions in a wide variety of sports and extra-curricular activities. These same teams very often play larger schools in pre-season/non-region games and have winning records in those games as well. I believe it has more to do with developing a culture in the schools and the communities they serve. When money is an issue most small school coaches I know have dug into their own pockets to give students whose families couldn't afford the fees, travel and other expenses a chance to play. I think throwing this study in the mix as well intended as it might have been will just make a clouded difficult decision even more difficult when considering realignment.

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