I think where you live has an impact on the benefits of sports. In 1a and 2a, it
is almost a rarity to cut anyone because they are so low on numbers. In larger
areas I could see the intramural argument since hundreds try out and don't
make it. I just think the larger classifications seems to be more about chasing
the scholarships than the small towns who play for tradition and to have
something to be involved with. Without sports you'd probably have more
problems with drugs simply because the kids don't have anything to keep
them motivated or they get bored
Doug focuses on only the schools in the metropolitan areas--basically the
Wasatch front. He may be right but there is a whole population of people and
schools who don't live on the Wasatch front. Doug, go visit those small 1A
and 2A schools and you'll find not a lot of money is spent on athletics and
anybody who wants to participate can. You might find they play the game
for------ the love of the game. Shocking I know. Nobody gets cut from football
and few get cut from basketball. You might might even find a girl who plays
volleyball, runs cross country, does drill and cheer, basketball, track, and is
a student body officer and plays in the band, works and is an avid reader.
My initial reaction to this was frustration, but I am coming around. I have two
athletes participating in high school programs - one in high school and another
heading to college with an athletic scholarship paying her tuition. I have a lot
of experience with high school and club programs in several different sports.In many cases, high schools do not do sports well. Programs are often
deficient in supporting athletes (despite supposed massive funding). From
uncommitted coaches, to mismatch uniforms, to drama - high school sports are not
(typically) a dream. In a club program, I choose the coach. My kids always
have a matching uniform. We select the level of competition. So why
did my kids participate in high school sports? A significant reason - because
most elite athletes do. The quality of club programs diminishes during high
school and high school is where the competition is at during high school season.
Would it be so awful to open up high school athletics and create
intramural programs available to more athletes? Would more elite athletes stay
with their club programs during the high school season? Would that be so bad?Sounds like it might be a win-win to me.
I totally agree.I for the past 2 years have been a high school
athlete in football. Every day after school we would practice from 4-6 hours
leaving most of us beat and in no position to think about doing homework. Then
there is the summer and winter weight lifting that is started in June and
January respectively. I love playing sports. I never started on varsity. I
played for the satisfaction of work and for the chance to play with my friends
and to make more friends. High school teams have to work harder and harder to
even be considered relevant as a team. It is ridiculous to take them away from
their education that is much more important in the long run to all but the small
percentage that get scholarships and will move on to the pros. I think as a
state and country we need to rethink this.
Mr. Robinson, you'll look back at this article a few years from now and
comment to yourself "what was I thinking". High School sports is
no different today that it's ever been. No, you didn't grow up in the
"good ole days". What's changed is athletics in the private
sector that doesn't have any control over parents, kids, coaches and rules.
Point your finger in the right direction next time.
There are actually a lot of studies that show that athletes do better in school,
by significant margins.
Doug, at our high school 50% of our student body participates on a sporting
team, nearly 75% on some extracurricular activity. I don't think it's
just the elite kids. Also, plenty of sports are no-cut sports. I don't
know of too many football programs, your example in the article, actually cut
students. Just some food for thought. Also, I've seen high
school sports literally save hundreds of lives. Yes, maybe participating in a
sport saved somebody from using drugs, not driving them to it.
Don't these programs exist already? Jr. Jazz and City Rec Leagues (at
least where I live) are fantastic and get a lot of kids involved in playing
competitive sports. I wish that city rec leagues would be more widely
advertised and pushed, but that infrastructure gives kids the opportunities to
compete if they don't make the high school team (and for football its a
moot point, there are hardly any teams that have to do cuts in this state).
Instead of overhauling the current system there needs to be a push to get high
school programs self sufficient. The matter of overzealous parents
is a different matter. It would be smarter to put the money in an account. The
excessive camping just inflates athlete and parent egos. Then they try to take
it out on the coaches when their kid doesn't play. I think camps like the
All Poly Camp and Mtn. West Elite can balloon kids' and parents' heads
into thinking an athlete is better than he/she really is. I wish the camps
wouldn't focus so much on which college is there, but on the skills the
kids need to learn.
@JSBThere aren't any school boards with the guts to do this
because they, for the most part, are intelligent and understand how important
sports are in high schools.
If there are benefits to high school athletics, then why aren't more
students allowed to participate? The selection process is patently unfair. Only
a few gifted athletes or politically or socially connected students get to
receive the benefits (inflated ego, fan adoration, publicity, glory, etc). The
rest of the students have the great opportunity of cheering on their team! I played intramural sports in junior high, junior college and at the
University and Utah and loved it. It's time for our high schools drop
expensive inter school athletics and switch to intramural athletics in which
more students get to participate and it costs less. As long as schools plead
poverty and then go ahead and and sponsor expensive and dangerous inter school
athletics, I won't vote for a tax increase. If a large school district
dropped athletics, it wouldn't be long before others followed because the
benefits would become obvious. Are there any school boards with the guts to do
2bits,You must begin to read through things thoroughly before you comment
on topics. Your study never once mentions athletes. It talks about "cool
kids." Who are the cool kids? What defines cool? Well, I did the research
for you and everyone else. Here it is directly from the study, " To measure
coolness, students were asked about their romantic behavior, including how many
people they "made out" with. They were asked how many times they had
damaged or destroyed property belonging to parents, sneaked into a movie without
paying, stolen items from parents or family members, and whether they had used
drugs and/or marijuana.""They were also asked how important it was
for them to be popular with a lot of different kinds of kids, how attractive
their closest friends were, and whom they would most likely spend time with on a
Saturday night."Do you see a mention of sports or athletics? No there
isn't. Achieving success in athletics typically translates in to success in
life. At my high school, the majority of good athletes are now doing very well
with families and good careers.
part 2So lets say you try and add more order/structure...how many
coaches do you now have to pay to teach the game/supervise/strategize? There
goes all that saved money for even less qualified people than we have now.
I not an elite athlete and I did alright having to tryout (never made the
basketball team) and struggle to get better at sports (football). This is just
off the top of my head, and specific to my high school (Dixie) but I don't
think you got cut from football, wrestling, swimming, track, cross country, or
tennis..so those are always options for people to join.My question
to those who participated in any high school sports: where did you learn/grow
the most? Practice, games, camps, outside activities (weight lifting/open gym)?
For me, it was camps, practice, outside activities, then games. Most of those
get taken away with intramurals. So now you get less opportunities to grow with
your teammates and to face those struggles together. You only get organized
pickup games with no coaches/proper training. If there are people willing to
have practices for intramurals, they are probably the ones who would be on the
proposed club teams. (continued)
Hmmm.... using your logic, Doug we should cut out all sports, high school,
college even professional. Give everyone a trophy and call it good. Your
sports job would not exist if we cut it all out. I do not agree at all. Sure kids get cut and some do turn to drugs, but not everyone in this world is
an athlete lets just admit it. High School sports are for more than just
the athletes. What about the pep band, cheerleaders, fans and parents. There is
more to it than the 12 on the basketball team.
I have no idea what this article is talking about dealing with "too much tax
payers money going into high school sports?" Unless you have actually
coached in Utah then you know that the legislative money that you receive every
year can barely cover below average practice uniforms for your program and like
3 new basketballs or footballs. So that argument is a joke. This article just
proves yet again that our society is a "Participation Trophy" society.
Every kid deserves to play and there should be no cuts is why everyone wants
handouts from everyone. What has happened to working hard? What has happened to
trying to be the best? There is something perfect for all the kids who get cut
or don't want to work hard or who wants to have everyone tell them how
special they are. It's called JR JAZZ!!!
@ReallyGoogle "Cool kids study offers 'revenge' for
nerds" (CNN News)STORY HIGHLIGHTSCool kids in middle
school more likely to have problems as adults, a study foundThey were more
likely to be using drugs and alcohol and committing crimes...Google
"Does Athletic Success Come at the Expense of Academic Success?"..."Why Some College Athletes Do Not Succeed - Varsityedge"..."Why are nerds more successful after high school""Being Popular in High School Doesn't Make You Rich, After
All"Some good articles on the topic. I only have 200
words...A simple experiment... think of your last high school
reunion... what were the jocks doing for jobs 15-20 years after high school
(most of mine were unemployed construction workers). Are the Nerds having a
hard time finding jobs? Nope, they are the CEOs of the companies the jocks work
Stop allowing schools to recruit athletes through "open enrollment" and
let the kids play where they live. The USHAA should pursue that option. That
way the same schools wouldn't be in the championship round every year. If
they want to transfer, do what college does and make them sit out a year.
@2 bits,Could you post any studies that show that students who focus
on high school sports wind up less successful than their counterparts? I would
be interested in seeing how they collected the data and drew their conclusions
because I have heard that such stories are actually the exception and not the
rule.As I look at the top athletes from my high school experience,
most have great careers, are wonderful parents, and still contribute a lot of
I agree with UtahBlueDevil; isn't there room for both types of sports
programs in school? Think of it this way--a child gets cut from the basketball
team. Not all is lost, that child can participate in the intramural program to
improve skills and remain healthy. The intramural program could provide
incentives for students to keep improving for that next time there are team
I think the worshiping of sports in general (especially Prep sports) is out of
balance.I know boys who's parents pressure them to give up on
getting their Eagle so they can be on an elite team, or attend all the sports
camps, practices and games needed to qualify for an elite pre-high-school
team.I try to explain that the citizenship and leadership skills
they learn in scouts will benefit every boy (100% guaranteed). Sports are good
(for what you learn from maximizing your potential and from working as a team).
But less than 10% will play that sport in college. And less than 1% will make
it a profession.And yet... they are willing to trade the 100%
guarantee of learning qualities that will benefit them the rest of their life...
for the 1% chance of being a professional athlete.It's been
proven that most people who focus on sports in high school (instead of
academics) end up badly for them in the long run (in their attempts to find a
career).I say focus on school (not sports) and you will be better
off (in the long run).
Intramural sports is not going to work for the competitive athlete. The kid
that is blessed with abundant athletic ability is not going to play on the same
basketball team as the Chess Club President. That just isn't going to
work. Everybody is different. Just because the current system doesn't
work for some doesn't mean it should be scrapped. This will do nothing but
chase the talented athletes away from high school (intramural) sports to club
sports. The club sport cost will keep talented middle-class athletes from
playing in competitive sports.
I agree with UtahBlueDevil, why does it have to be one or the other? I believe
there will be and perhaps should always be a handful of kids who are very
athletically gifted and should compete at higher levels. There are; however,
many children who just need the benefits that team and individual sports
provide. Physical education in the Alpine SD, at least, is a joke. My kids
experienced the same as another poster, a teacher handing the kids a ball and
walking back to his/her office.I grew up in another state where
there were both intramural and competitive sports starting in middle school. I
participated in both and received different benefits from each. My success in
playing for a championship volleyball team helped me understand what real hard
work and dedication can bring. My playing of intramural basketball helped me
make friends and learn to just have fun.I would love to see
intramural sports included along with more female competitive sports. I want to
see field hockey and lacrosse for girls and would love to see rugby in general.
By the way, I currently invest in sports and arts, I would continue.
This article makes way too much sense to ever actually be adopted. As one of
those in my day who, as Doug said, had no illusions about my abilities but just
wanted to be part of something, a good intramural program would have been
incredibly useful. This is the kind of sea change everybody would benefit from -
elite athletes and mere participants alike.
If only we had a program to let kids do athletic things in a fun and less
competitive atmosphere.Oh wait, we do. Its called PE.As
a small school fan, I have to wonder if it isn't just the large schools
that have the problem posed by the author. No one in my area gets cut. Most
teams are in the halls begging kids to play. And I know of kids that benefitted
from being on a team that didn't tolerate drugs, alcohol or tobacco use,
while I know of no kids that got cut and fell off the deep end.Speaking of which, where is the parent in this scenario? Shouldn't mom
and dad be taking care of Jeff and guiding him to find a useful purpose for his
free time? Maybe he could get a job? Take piano lessons? Work on his Eagle
Scout stuff? Learn to code?Too bad there's no such thing as a
pick up game anymore.
I know first hand that a lot majority of money that Doug talked about going into
high school sports is paid by the participants and their families through direct
donation or fund raising. I would say that men's football and basketball,
for the most part, pay for themselves and help facilitate other sports programs
as well. I think a better question would be to ask parents if they would be
better off taking those tens of thousands of dollars spent on lessons, training,
travel, tournaments, games, etc. chasing a scholarship and instead invest it for
their kids college education. I'll have to admit that watching money grow
in an account is not as exciting as watching a competitive athletic contest but
. . . .
Big-time overreaction. High school sports has its warts and doesn't work
for everybody, but to abandon it in favor of intramural sports is lame.
We need more kids participating in sports of all kinds. We can't just
focus on football, basketball, and baseball.Thank goodness we now
have Lacrosse and mountain biking coming on strong.We need to get as
many people involved as possible. When I grew up in Orem everyone played
baseball, but now the whole sport has been hijacked by the super leagues and if
you don't play 100 games a year then there is no room for you.extreme specialization is hurting sports for everyone as those resources only
become available for the fanatics.Also, a Great coach is becoming
very rare. There are way too many ego maniac coaches who don't care about
the kids as much as their winning record and too often just their own kid.Fanatical parents who have no sportsmanship are also the problem.
Everyone needs to take a step back and let the kids play and learn to have fun
GZE... Not sure you played sports in Utah.... YES they do cut kids from teams in
Utah High Schools.
Yep, way too much money goes into high school sports. An overhaul would be a
good thing. The issue runs far deeper in the smaller communities than that in
the cities (in my experience). Just look at the football 3A vs 3AA issue. Do
really we need to divide the schools urban vs rural just so that Podunk High can
win a championship again?One issue that I wish Mr. Robinson had
addressed was regarding the problems that can come from having much success as
an athlete (esp. high school and the adolescent mind). The problems from that
are just as severe as those stemming from failure.I had my
university degree paid for by an athletic department as are/have 2 of my 4
children. I say this not to brag but to shoot down the 'sour grapes'
I believe that just as many people like "Jeff" who turn their experience
into a pity party and use it as an excuse to fail in other area, there are
people like "Michael Jordan" who use it as an excuse to work hard and
develop into a better player, harder worker, and higher achiever.
BTW.... why is an intramural model and competitive sports mutually exclusive of
each other? They do it in colleges, why can't it be done in high schools?
I am not sure why we need to pick one over the other.
The converse story is also true. Perhaps some kids turn to drugs and gangs so
that they have a "club" to belong to.... but at least in this area there
are also a lot of kids who show up to school every day because of the promise
that if they stay eligible, they can be on a sports team. As wrong minded,
against the odds as it may seem, their are significant number of kids whose
parents make sure they show up to school so that they can play a sport.... and
if they work hard... and with some luck, will have a chance at a college
education at some school.If football, baseball, soccer, LaCrosse,
you name the sport, is what it takes to keep little Johnny showing up to school
everyday and makes sure he does well enough to be eligible, that is not a bad
thing. Maybe it is just 100 football players, and another 12 basketball, and
20 baseball, and 30 soccer, and what ever wrestlers... add it up... and you have
a good number of kids with an academic gun to their head to remain eligible.
Intramural sports will not do that.
"Wouldn’t it be better if we put resources into programs that benefit
the many, not the few? Wouldn’t an intramural program be vastly superior
to the present system? "Yes! Absolutely! I came up through the
Salt Lake City school system. I attended Horace Mann Jr High (what a hole) and
West High School. I took a P.E. class each of those six years. During that
time I received exactly zero ZERO minutes of instruction in any particular
sport. The gym teacher (coach at West) showed up, called the role, handed
somebody a ball of some sort and disappeared. I really could have used some
instruction in some sport. The present system is for the elite and everybody
else can go hang. It's not right. Oh, and the fact that
I'm leftist shouldn't reflect negatively on my view.
Move to Europe and get your participation ribbon
The benefit of high school sports is learning how to discipline oneself to learn
a particular skill. For most, the skills learned have no lasting value but the
discipline learned in the process transfers to most areas of life. Those who
wish to be successful in life need to learn how to sacrifice for a distant goal
and maintain consistent effort, focus and discipline in order to reach that
goal. High school sports teach these principles and success in high school
sports generally relates to these factors. Motivation is provided by the desire
to succeed and resistance is provided through competition. Intramural sports
while fun, do not provide sufficient motivation or resistance to develop such
habits. Smaller schools benefit disproportionately as most kids who want to
participate have an opportunity in many sports. The problem is the larger
schools where there are limited slots and too many students. A much better
solution would be smaller neighborhood schools. The costs of building and
infrastructure are higher but so are the benefits. Eliminating high school
athletics does not solve the problem it only further limits those who can
receive the benefits which research shows is significant.
"Jeff" didn't play high school football in Utah. Utah high schools
do not cut boys from the football team.
Absolutely! Shout it from the rooftops! And an intramural model would be good
for the physical well-being for a lot more kids.
He didn't challenge the importance of being the best at something. He was
challenging the money that is spent on high school sports. Let's get real
here. The average height of an NBA player is 6'6". Society,
unfortunately, has spoken loud and clear about what it values and parents buy
into it hook, line, and sinker! How about giving these kids a little reality
check and direction by not stressing making a team to the point that everything
outside of it is viewed as worthless. The NBA I am sure appreciates the money
and emphasis, but a society that values putting a ball into a hoop more than
becoming a doctor able to cure cancer has a problem! An intramural program that
allowed all to compete would not hinder any kid from moving beyond high school,
but certainly would give all kids a chance to have some fun. It is a game, pure
and simple, despite those who think otherwise! If you don't think it is
serious business, just watch a parent who has spent hundreds and thousands of
dollars sending his kid to camps all of a sudden realizes his kid didn't
make the team!
I have to agree with Doug on this one. As a high school and college athlete, I
loved participating in sports. The key was participating. Being involved. We won
a lot, but that wasn't central to the satisfaction and fulfillment. It was
the teamwork, and discipline, and sportsmanship. It was the relationships, and
learning hard work, and the excitement of putting yourself on the line.If there is anything educational and instructive and valuable about high
school athletics (and I think there is), it should be shared as broadly as
possible, not restricted to a very few.Colleges will still harvest
the cream of the crop for their "amateur" athletics programs, but many
more should be given the opportunity to benefit from organized competitive
sports programs.And maybe doing such a thing could improve overall
health and fitness!
Sorry Mr. Spring but I cannot agree. As a society, we have chosen to reward a
relative few with a disproportionate amount of taxpayer money. I like the idea
of seeing kids succeed but we need to do so in a greater variety of fields. Let
the clubs pick up the tab as they do in Europe so that we can also reward
excellence in science, the arts, public speaking, activism, and so forth.By the way, I lettered for four years in high school and also served as
a head coach at the college level.
I don't think you can move to a new school to play ball, In Idaho anyway
if you don't move with your parents than you have to sit out a year before
you play sports.
I've got to hand it to you Doug, for taking on a subject that could meet
lots of resentment. However, that being said, I'm going to admit, that you
have hit the nail right on the head. Team sports in high schools have gotten
completely out of hand. Look at all the trouble the Utah High schools had last
year with school allowing transfers, East High leading the pack with all the new
kids they let in. UHSAA banned them, then backed off and let them back into the
playoffs, other schools did the same thing. While I completely agree with you
Doug, I wonder if we haven't dug too deep a hole to change anything for the
good. I feel that it's only going to get worse. Way to speak up Doug,
you've got my support.!!
This is a shockingly left-wing article from Robinson. What has happened to the
champion of athletics that we used to know?True athletics is not
about passing out participation medals to everyone. It is about rewarding the
best for working hard to achieve excellence.The left-wing
egalitarian view has permeated too much of the public education system already.
It has resulted in lowering the curriculum and the expectations to the level of
the lowest common denominator so that all achieve the same result and none feel
bad.Our society cannot afford an entire generation of mediocrity.
Robinson the runner should know as well as anyone the adage of Paul torun to
win. That is why hhigh school athletics are so important. If these students are
to become successful adults, they must learn how to run to win.
AMEN!I couldn't agree more. Most parents who don't have
kids playing sports probably don't understand the amount of $$$ that
parents spend - besides the coaches salaries. For football its' probably
in the hundreds (if not thousands)of dollars every season. Then parents have
the (almost)mandatory "football/basketball camps".Then......we have the UHSSA who make the rules "allowing" students to
transfer across town in order to form a "winning" state championship
team.The whole thing has degraded to the point where the whole high
school athletic program is a bad joke!