High School Athletic Issues From Around The Country

This site is for people looking to read about issues that face parents, kids and administrators of high school sports. Feel free to look around and make comments as you wish. The face of High School Athletics is changing and I want to help everybody keep up in this fast paced pursuit of excellence!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Why Can't Everybody Make The Team

This is a common question this time of year...many sports in our high schools face the inevitable...too many kids trying out and not enough spots on the team. Our High School has over 11oo kids...we have to cut in sports like Soccer, Tennis and Golf...there just aren't enough spots for all of the kids who want to participate. No coach wants to cut kids and most agonize over decisions like these.

When it gets down to the final cuts, there are more than likely several kids who have similar skills. Sometimes, when a parent thinks the wrong kid was kept, they may actually be right...so as an athletic director, how do I reconcile the decisions that have been made?

In evaluating these situations, I have to be convinced of 2 things...
  1. That the coach in charge is of high integrity and cares for kids....
  • Specifically, that no family favors will be able to be "cashed in". That kids won't make the team just because they have money or just because their parents happen to be boosters of the program. Each competitor has to stand on his or her own merits.
2. That the coach has a sound system for selecting players and has communicated this system to the families and kids involved.

If these principles are in place, then I can feel comfortable that the coaching staff made a decision that is ethically sound and respects the efforts of those involved.

If they aren't in place, then I should be looking for a new coach.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

No Cut In Middle School Being Evaluated

www.missoulian.com/articles/2006/03/13/news/top/news01.txt

Friday, March 10, 2006

Booster Groups Helping At Levy Time Creating A Quandry?

www.ohio.com/mld/beaconjournal/news/state/14058709.htm

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

High School Shot Clock Debate Continues

www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060307/SPORTS/603070436/1002/SPORTS

Drug Testing In Oceanside

www.nctimes.com/articles/2006/03/07/opinion/commentary/18_14_383_6_06.txt

More Fun In Kentucky...

19 year old high school athlete trying to get the eligibility rules changed....


www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/news/local/14032427.htm

Rival Principal Speaks Out About Seattle School Recruiting Violations

Good point of view that we all need to be reminded of from time to time...


seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2002848388_hickey07.html

"X" Games In High School?

One Wisconsin school is gonna give it a ride...


www.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060228/GPG0101/602280424/1207/GPGnews

Monday, March 06, 2006

Scary Concept For School Athletic Directors!

www.seacoastonline.com/news/03062006/news/91145.htm

Thursday, March 02, 2006

OSAA (Oregon) Overturns Forfeit Despite Admitted Rules Violation

Because of a decision made by an adult that impacts the kids.

Would your state association have done the same thing? Should they have?


www.registerguard.com/news/2006/03/01/c1.sp.bellamy.0301.p1.php?section=sports

"He's Got The Charm Of Forrest Gump And The Brain Of Rain Man"

www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060302/NEWS/603020592/1006/SPORTS

WOW! Renton Puts 3.3 GPA Limit On State Game Attendance

www.komotv.com/stories/42158.htm

3rd AD In $ Years...Evanston Turns To One Of "Their Own"

www.pioneerlocal.com/cgi-bin/ppo-story/sports/current/ev/03-02-06-832601.html

Sealth HS Update...One Senior Suspended

seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002838308_sealth02.html

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Forest Hills To Add "Student Leaders" To Athletic Code?

This could get interesting!

news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060228/NEWS0102/602280343/1058/NEWS01

Athletic Code Editorial

www.seacoastonline.com/news/02282006/editoria/90001.htm

ACLU Involved In Ban On Clubs

www.gainesvilletimes.com/news/stories/20060228/localnews/71468.shtml

Monday, February 27, 2006

Full Article On Arkansas Report

www.arkansasnews.com/archive/2006/02/26/News/334503.html

Any Guess Where This Is Heading?

www.katv.com/news/stories/0206/306162.html

Friday, February 24, 2006

Salem, Oregon Recommends No Pop Or Candy During The School Day

159.54.226.83/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060224/ITK/602240318/1001

Thursday, February 23, 2006

We Have Been Scammed By Students Of America As Well

BE on the look out for these cheats!

hometownlife.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060223/NEWS11/602230715/1028

One We Would All Love To Have In Our Program

www.eastvalleynews.com/appeal/article.cfm?i=6968

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Pennsylvania Attacking Transfer Rules

www.cumberlink.com/articles/2006/02/21/sports/sports20.txt

Salinas High...300 Kids Not Living In Their District

www.montereyherald.com/mld/montereyherald/news/local/13931900.htm

South Dakota Signs In...Use Drugs, Out of School ACTIVITIES For A Year

argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060222/NEWS04/602220338/1001/NEWS

Monday, February 20, 2006

Does Drug Testing Deter Drug Use In Schools?

www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060208/NEWS/602080341

Rumors Need To Be Supported By Fact

"What system can be put in place to make people with first-hand information come forward?" asked Mike Colbrese, executive director of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association. "How can people who have the documentation you need be willing to come forward?"

www.columbian.com/sports/localNews/02192006news197608.cfm

Friday, February 17, 2006

One View...No State Standards, No Sports!

news.galvestondailynews.com/story.lasso?ewcd=7c127da30e75af54

Gender Equity Lawsuit...No Softball In Middle School

www.timesnews.net/article.dna?_StoryID=3602101

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Interesting Eligibilty Case In Kentucky

news.kypost.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060216/NEWS02/602160375/1014

"Next To School, Sports Is One Of The Most Important Things I Do"

www.pioneerlocal.com/cgi-bin/ppo-story/sports/current/cg/02-16-06-829458.html

Investigation Underway

seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002808573_sealth16.html

Move Over Radio

www.mlive.com/business/grpress/index.ssf?/base/business-3/1140105319185840.xml&coll=6

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Keep An Eye On This One...WOW!

Seattle High School and top girls basketball team in the country under fire for recruiting...still no investigation!

seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002806315_sealth15.html

South Carolina Enters The Public / Private Debate

www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/sports/13874795.htm

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Unbelievable, NJ Government At It Again

How do you monitor this one?


www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/local/atlantic/story/5899101p-5913507c.htm

Arizona Considering Private School Multiplier

www.eastvalleytribune.com/index.php?sty=59106

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Amazing Wrestler Shows A Fighting Spirit

news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060212/SPT0301/602120409/1069/SPT01

Friday, February 10, 2006

Government Getting Involved In New Jersey

www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060210/NEWS03/602100329/1007

Wrestling Weight Testing Procedures In Court In New Mexico

www.abqtrib.com/albq/sp_prep_sports/article/0,2564,ALBQ_19875_4456762,00.html

In Kentucky, Private vs Public Rages On

www.wkyt.com/Global/story.asp?S=4481378&nav=4CAN

Football Coach Stays...27 Conditions

news.communitypress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2006602080583

Thursday, February 09, 2006

When Parents Cross The Line

archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=parents30&date=20020430&query=When+Parents+Cross+the+Line+Craig+Smith

Coach Gaining Support

There are many in high school sports that question if they can ever have enough good will in the bank...how long do you have to work in education before "that one parent" can't get you? I am sure we will never know all of the facts on this one, but she is respected in the profession, demanding of her kids and a fighter, as Wyoming Schools are about to find out.


news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060209/SPT0301/602090338/1078

School District Looking To Consolidate Sports...

www.wishtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=4470380&nav=0Ra7

Athletes Find New Ways To Trash Talk....The Emergence of Message Boards

www2.townonline.com/maynard/opinion/view.bg?articleid=424889

HS Soccer Player Attacks Referee

www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/local/orl-soccer0906feb09,0,3197513.story?coll=orl-sports-headlines

AD Reinstated

www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/3646596.html

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Coach Files Discrimination Lawsuit

news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060208/SPT0301/602080347/1078

School District Eliminating Practice During School Day.

www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=160314

New Twist...Private Schools ASK Lawmakers To Get Involved.

www.bradenton.com/mld/bradenton/news/local/13815164.htm

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A Funeral For Sportsmanship?

www.athleticsearch.com/bertrinon113.htm

113 Points Scored By One Player In a 100 Point Victory?

sports.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?columnist=wojnarowski_adrian&id=2316846

Judge Makes Good Call From The Bench

"However, a judge does not and should not have the power to usurp the authority of school officials and administrators to promulgate appropriate rules for students. They and they alone are granted the authority to modify the eligibility policy and athletic code if they deem modifications necessary."

www.chronicle-tribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060207/OPINION01/602070309/1014/OPINION

MySpace... Not...Students Suspended From Evidence In Internet Pictures

Showing them drinking alcohol....


www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/southsouthwest/chi-0602070197feb07,1,5317650.story?coll=chi-newslocalssouthwest-hed

Monday, February 06, 2006

Court Ruling Supports School System.

www.macon.com/mld/macon/sports/colleges/mercer/13799203.htm

Sunday, February 05, 2006

You Gave Them Life...Now Let Them Learn To Handle It.

www.paysonroundup.com/section/opinion/story/22030

Super Bowl Story...Shaun Alexander

news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060205/SPT0201/602050404/1067/SPT02

Sequoia Forfeits Season

www.insidebayarea.com/sanmateocountytimes/localnews/ci_3475996

Black History Month...High School "Glory Road".

www.centredaily.com/mld/centredaily/news/nation/13795967.htm

Ineligible And....Quit School?

www.chronicle-tribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060205/NEWS01/602050311/1002

Friday, February 03, 2006

Random Drug Tests For The Entire Student Body!

hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/S/STUDENT_DRUG_TESTING?SITE=OHCIN&SECTION=AMERICAS&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Trouble In Kentucky!

www.duluthsuperior.com/mld/duluthsuperior/sports/13766488.htm

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

For Fun...Roethlisberger On The Bench?

www.usatoday.com/sports/columnist/lopresti/2006-01-30-roethlisberger_x.htm

These Scam Artists Are All Over The Country

www.thenoblesvilleledger.com/articles/5/064891-9005-111.html

In Tough Financial Times...Does Cutting Sports Really Make Sense?

www.themonroetimes.com/o0131mon.htm

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Series Of Recruiting Articles In The New York Times.

This series requires free registration on the Times website...


www.nytimes.com/ref/sports/2005_RECRUIT_SERIES.html

John Wooden Never Recruited Outside California??

msn.foxsports.com/cbk/story/5276950

Internet Services Feed College Recruiting Frenzy

www.oregonlive.com/sports/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/sports/1138595122323760.xml&coll=7

Monday, January 30, 2006

Springfield City Schools To Drop Athletic Program?

www.springfieldnewssun.com/sports/content/sports/stories/2006/01/29/SNSsp0129schools.html

Should Players Be Benched Without Criminal Convictions?

Another example of the courts making policy.


www.masslive.com/metrowest/republican/index.ssf?/base/news-0/1138610897158700.xml&coll=1

Georgia Legislature Puts Sports "In The Classroom"

A new proposal requiring 65% of a schools budget to be spent on "In the Classroom" activities...debate continues about the inclusion of school athletics but the exclusion of librarians and counselors...

macon.com/mld/macon/13744433.htm

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Fired Coach Supported By Team....

www.bangornews.com/news/templates/?a=127969

Instant Messaging Part Of The Recruiting Game...

www.newhousenews.com/archive/wentworth012706.html

Athletic Department Sanctions..."Life Isn't Fair?"

www.theksbwchannel.com/ksbw/6507049/detail.html

Athlete Sues Over Suspension For Bad Grades

www.chronicle-tribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060128/NEWS01/601280304/1002

Most Courageous Athlete

www.courierpostonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060128/SPORTS/601280365/1002/SPORTS

National Tournament In High School Hoops?

www.ohio.com/mld/beaconjournal/13732623.htm

Friday, January 27, 2006

Government Stepping In

Should our state governments really be setting school policy for dealing with violations of athletic codes of conduct?


www.argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060127/NEWS04/601270334/1001/NEWS

School Board Limits Pop/Soda Sale In School

Should school boards really be worried about this?


www.craigdailypress.com/section/frontpage_lead/story/20401

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Thinking About DI Athletics? Travel And Practice Really Add Up!

statehornet.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2006/01/25/43d6c9f9a9f1d

No Steriod Testing In Wisconsin

greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060125/GPG0205/601250474/1238/GPGsports

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Synthetic Turf Catching On All Over The Country

baxterbulletin.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060124/NEWS01/601240331/1002

Virginia Legislature To Limit Evening Game Times?

timescommunity.com/site/tab1.cfm?newsid=15993179&BRD=2553&PAG=461&dept_id=506035&rfi=6

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Florida Also Struggling With Transfer Abuse

tallahassee.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060124/SPORTS01/601240354/1002/SPORTS

Physical Education Credit

Should High School Athletics be considered a valid substitute for high school physical education credit? Not in this school district.


159.54.227.3/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060124/NEWS01/60124016/1006

Monday, January 23, 2006

Transfer Problems in Utah!

deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,635178439,00.html

Sunday, January 22, 2006

High School Athletics Isn't Life And Death

fortwayne.com/mld/newssentinel/sports/13680485.htm

Superwoman?

Why more woman aren't coaching high school sports teams...

democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060122/NEWS01/601220339/1002/NEWS

Friday, January 20, 2006

Coach Suspended For Not Playing AD's Kid

Of course, there could be more to the story, but not according to this article...and the principal claims to have not known anything negative that was going on. It sure raises alot of questions in my mind!

nwanews.com/bcdr/Sports/30237/

This AD is Making A Difference

www.post-gazette.com/pg/06019/640150.stm

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Strength Training Has Quite An Impact Now

www.thesouthern.com/articles/2006/01/18/sports/10003583.txt

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Earn F's And Still Play?

desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060117/OPINION01/601170351/1035/OPINION

Saturday, January 14, 2006

A Little Bit Of Fun....Racoon Supper!

www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/13623302.htm

Friday, January 13, 2006

Should TaxPayers Foot The Bill For Emerging Sports Such As Lacrosse?

www.theunionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Lax+funding%3A+Raise+private+money+for+more+sports&articleId=78487a41-1fd9-4480-8036-2a9ba83c9ee3

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

PE Classes for the "Serious" Athlete In Oregon

www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/113695892722170.xml&coll=7

Time For Some Limits

Interesting concept from an Ohio school. Could it work?

www.bucyrustelegraphforum.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060111/SPORTS/601110323/1006

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Fail One Class and You Are Done In Iowa

...unless statewide pressure can get lawmakers to change this one.


www.qctimes.net/articles/2006/01/07/news/state/doc43bf4f4a10f25352593859.txt

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Value Of Higher Education...In $$$$ And Cents

googolplex.cuna.org/12433/cnote/story.html?doc_id=169

We All Need To Pay Attention To Our Kids

Teen suicide is examined in this article written after the death of the son of Tony Dungy...

www.jacksonsun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051228/SPORTS/512280312/1006

Friday, January 06, 2006

Preventing Burnout In Youth Sports

Parents have more options now than ever before. This author says you can find out how much is too much just by asking your kids.

24hourfitness.com/html/fitness/youth/parent_tips/burnout/

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Youth Sports Running Out of Bounds

Another article about the perils of burning kids out too young.


http://www.billingsgazette.com/index.php?id=2&display=rednews/2005/12/31/build/sportsnational/45-youth-sports.inc

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

High School Bowling Gaining Steam Nationally

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nation/3557225.html

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Parents, Fees and Fundraisers Keep Sports Alive

This article looks at how some school districts have been forced to approach the funding issues across the country.

http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/sports/high_school/13365523.htm

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Inspirations From Youth Sports In 2005

Check this link out and read about people from around the country who have made good with the deck stacked against them.

moberlymonitor.com/articles/2005/12/26/sports/sports2.txt

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Politics Of Coaching

This article was in the KANSAN newspaper. One writer looks at the politics of firing coaches through the eyes of Newton High School, who recently let go of a Volleyball and Football coach with no public reason.

www.thekansan.com/stories/121305/sports_1213050012.shtml

Saturday, December 24, 2005

An Arizona Article About Specialization

This issue is here to stay and definitely nationwide. How can we make it easier for kids to play three sports? Are we past the point of it even being possible anymore, unless the young athlete is a super-hero?

http://www.azcentral.com/community/chandler/articles/1224gr-special24Z6.html

Friday, December 23, 2005

School Funding And Athletics Programs

More and more school districts in Ohio find themselves in the same predicament as the Springfield City Schools, highlighted in this article. Are there any solutions?

2005/12/21/sns1221extracurriculars.html

Steroid Testing In New Jersey

Check this out...The Governor of the state ordered this type of testing for New Jersey High School Athletes...Is he jumping the gun or is this truly a High School issue?

What about the use of creatine and other substances that are currently legal?


http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051222/OPINION11/512220334/1112/OPINION

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Parent Code of Conduct In Kentucky

These are becoming more and more prevelant around the USA. Many school boards already require parent meetings in the pre-season and many youth organizations are requiring parents to sign regarding

http://www.lahontanvalleynews.com/article/20051209/Sports/112090024/-1/SPORTS

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Sports Group Says Let Kids Play

Is there really an in between? Should there be a competitive system AND a "free play" type of system? Do we currently have those options for people who want them?

http://www.courant.com/news/local/hc-youthsports1127.artnov27,0,4102634.story?coll=hc-headlines-local

A High School Diploma For Under $400?

Check this link out! You'll learn a little about the players who may be leading your favorite college football team on Saturday's...

http://www.amhersttimes.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=349&Itemid=27

Friday, November 25, 2005

Is It Really Worth It?

What some parents say from a recent series in the Cincinnati Enquirer:

So is anyone to blame for the costly excesses of high school sports? Many experts, administrators and coaches name the people paying the bills - parents.

They "start out with the right reasons, but get sucked in," says Dan Gould, director of the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports at Michigan State University.

"We've got to remember these kids are 16 and 17 years old," says Troy Everhart, varsity football coach at Winton Woods High School. "We're treating them like pros."

Parents say they're not pushing their kids unreasonably. Their children are so passionate about sports that they want to be playing all the time. Sports help kids stay out of trouble, become part of a team, travel, get into college, learn life lessons, build self-esteem and stay in shape.

"As long as he stays being a good kid, that's enough," Susan York says of her son, Ludlow baseball player Kyle. "I would pay double as long as he stays a good kid."

Unlike generations past, today's dual-income families have more expendable income and can afford to drop $1,000 on personal training, Cincinnati sport psychologist Barbara Walker says.

Terry and Cindy Hawk spent $10,000 last year on golf for their son Tyler, a Batavia junior. Terry Hawk said there's no way his parents could, or would, have paid that much for a sport when he was a teenager.

"When I was growing up, you had one parent working. Mom took care of the house, and Dad put a roof over our heads and a shirt on our backs. It's not a criticism," Terry Hawk says. "It's just the way it was back then."

Some parents today say they have abandoned their hobbies, stopped buying jewelry or fancy cars, and funneled money into athletics that provide social lives for them as much as for their kids.

Many parents, especially dads, are amazed at how lacking their own varsity experiences are in comparison. They're eager to experiment with - and don't mind paying for - advancements such as improved technology, scientifically researched training and even travel.

"I would have killed to go to Marquette (University)," says Jerry Grimm, whose son Eric has played there with his Junior Olympic volleyball team, Cincinnati Attack. "We were lucky to get a bus trip across town."

Jay Coakley, a University of Colorado sociology professor and author of "Sport in Society: Issues and Controversies," says parents' eagerness to spend on sports is rooted in reasons other than curiosity or enjoyment. He says athletics have become an affordable way for them to validate their parenting skills.

"This is part of the world they can control for a price," Coakley says. "For $5,000, I can be the mother or father I need to be in sports."

Lebanon parent Jim Kaunert used to despise comments like that, but he doesn't worry about them now. He and his wife, Charlene, pay $20,000 a year for their children Chelsea, 16; Megan, 13; and Jonathan, 9, to play sports.

"There are a lot of misconceptions people have with families like us. The first thing people will say is, 'Well, you're trying to live your life through your kids,' or 'You're trying to do this for a college education.' It's just not true," he says.

"We do it to keep the family tight and prepare our kids for their roles in life. And how many fathers of a 16-year-old daughter can say they have a relationship like I do with mine? How many are with them every weekend?"

How Much Are You Willing To Spend?

This article is from a series done by the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Paying for that edge
No guarantees come with pressure to spend

Janet and Dave Drachman recently counted up all the money they've spent since last fall for daughter Jaclyn to play basketball - outside of her Wyoming High School team.

There was one club team that didn't work out, another that required practices 90 minutes away. There were out-of-state tournaments and individual instruction with an ex-college star. Workouts at a rec center. Equipment and Gatorade.

It added up to $3,850.

"Sports are so competitive today," Jaclyn says, "that you have to have something that no one else has."

Welcome to a high school sports world where more is better, better costs money, and money is no object. The cost of competing in high school athletics has reached stunning heights, according to most of the 175 parents, athletes, coaches, administrators and experts interviewed for this series of stories.

No one keeps an official count, so the Enquirer asked 30 local families to calculate every fee they paid last year for club teams, personalized training, camps, clinics, tours and other year-round athletic services for their kids.

The average bill: $6,100 per child.

Most parents in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky say they're thankful they can give their children every advantage that money can buy. But as costs mount, so do concerns.

Parents also feel pressured to spend more and more, even though there are no guarantees of athletic success now or college scholarships or financial aid later.

More kids are specializing in one sport to stand out or keep up, leading to burnout and injuries from too much of one thing.

Some parents and coaches warn that money is creating an elite sports society for the rich that shuts out the poor.

And many wonder: Is all this costly training helping or hurting high school athletes?

COMMITMENTS COST

The National Federation of State High School Associations reports that a record 7 million kids played prep sports last school year. Consequently, many athletes are searching for ways to stand out.

Take Fairfield junior Shaun Alexander. He spent $2,200 last year playing on a basketball team of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), one of the country's largest youth sports organizations. Shaun received individual instruction and hired a recruiting service to sell him to college coaches. He practiced six hours on most summer days. He says it wasn't enough.

"To get to the top, you've got to be committed," he says. "If not, the game will pass you by."

But what does "commitment" mean?

Kings coach Steve Contardi says tennis is now a 12-month sport that can cost an average player $12,000 a year for private lessons, clinics, tournaments, travel, equipment and a tennis club membership.Beechwood swing coach Wayne Kelley says prep golfers are buying $2,000 top-of-the-line clubs that, as novices, many don't need.

Most athletes feel pressure to do something - however big or small - to keep up in their sport.

"I don't like to go one day without touching the ball," Hamilton sophomore basketball player Danielle Lewis says. "I almost feel bad, because I know someone is working harder than me."

Practice isn't always enough, kids say. Ludlow junior baseball player Kyle York says he would be an "average or less than average" athlete if his parents hadn't spent $4,800 last year for summer and fall baseball, private instruction and batting cage fees.

"I wouldn't be as skilled," says Matt Koewler, a Glen Este senior goalie whose parents paid $5,000 last year for his soccer training. "I wouldn't have as much knowledge of the game."

Sometimes, there are once-in-a-lifetime sports opportunities that parents can't pass up, even if they're costly.

Elizabeth Midkiff, mother of Fairfield senior soccer player Drew, helped organize a two-week trip to England so 19 Ohio Elite Soccer Academy players could visit the Manchester United professional soccer franchise. For $3,200, Drew met and trained with Manchester United's coaching staff, toured the team's facilities and played a match on its training field.

CLUB SPORTS BOOM

Young athletes say supplemental training has sharpened their skills and given them confidence to excel in high school sports. But most say the training is most crucial outside high school - in club sports.

The cost to compete is largely affected by a phenomenon that pits club teams against each other and against high schools for athletes' time and skills. In exchange for money, these organizations give athletes what high school sports can't: National competition, extensive travel and exposure to more college coaches.

Some say club sports could undermine the role of high school athletics. Ohio High School Athletic Association Assistant Commissioner Bob Goldring says there's still a special school and community camaraderie associated with state championships. Kentucky High School Athletic Association Commissioner Brigid DeVries says the caliber of play at state finals has "dramatically increased" in the past 15 years.

Yet students such as Sycamore volleyball player Brittani Gray say club sports give her rare venues to test her skills. Her family spent $6,400 last year on her volleyball efforts, including play on a Mizuno Cincy Classics Junior Olympic team. As a team member, the senior received instruction from an Olympic coach and went to 11 tournaments from Baltimore to Las Vegas. Because of her volleyball achievements, Northwestern University coaches gave her an athletic scholarship.

Brittani's father, Michael Gray, wouldn't be surprised if some day club sports constituted the "main" season and high school sports were the "off season."

"If high school sports aren't careful," he says, "they're going to disappear."

Does all the extra expense, and all the extra training, make a difference?

Some coaches and parents say kids are improving at all sports - whether it's from more training or smarter instruction. But since most athletes are improving, the expensive extras have become a requirement for competition, they say.

Still, coaches say no amount of costly training can substitute for talent - and hours and hours of practice.

"It's not how tall you are or how high you can jump. It comes down to time spent on a sport," Xavier golf coach Doug Steiner says.

Northern Kentucky University women's basketball coach Nancy Winstel says as long as a kid is playing, and playing right, it'll show. She says playing on an AAU team might help make a player better, and she has seen a big improvement in basketball skill over the past decade. But spending big bucks won't make stars out of everyone, she says.

"If they can't dribble without losing the ball or if they can't get in a defensive stance to save their lives, it's probably not going to happen for them," Winstel says.

Carrie Taylor isn't so sure all the playing is a good idea. The Mount Saint Joseph men's and women's soccer coach credits the growth of soccer clubs for improving players' skills, but she also is seeing more parental pressure on kids to excel. She says that results in overuse injuries and burnout.

Thomas More College athletic director and men's basketball coach Terry Connor rarely sees high school kids playing pick-up basketball at parks and playgrounds anymore. He suspects they're stuck in gyms being overcoached and overworked in their overscheduled lives.

"Kids are getting quicker and they're more athletic, but I don't know if they're better basketball players," Connor says. "Are they better shooters? I couldn't say that they are."

Jeffrey Davis, father of Winton Woods senior three-sport athlete Jason, says an athlete is limited without talent, and talent is one thing in sports that's not for sale.

"Some kids aren't blessed with natural ability," Jeffrey Davis says. "And some parents are trying to buy it."

AN ATHLETE'S REALITY

This, the kids say, is the reality of their lives:

At some point every year they're emotionally exhausted and physically spent because of sports, academic demands and an attempt to maintain social lives.

Nobody wants to quit his or her sport. They keep playing because they love the game, they want to be with friends, they want to improve, they want to win state, they're aiming for a scholarship. They're afraid to disappoint their parents. And besides, nobody's imposing limits on their volume of play.

Fairfield three-sport athlete CJ Link says someday she would love enough free time to "just take a nap." She's a rare athlete who plays club ball or pursues extra training in soccer, basketball and softball. Last year she played 148 games; her family spent $7,000 in the process.

When she thinks about college, she imagines an existence devoid of sports.

"I've done all this stuff my whole life," CJ says. "It seems like I never have enough time to try other things."

Seton volleyball player Chelsea Graman says club and school sacrifices were worth the end result - a scholarship to Villanova - even though she missed a family reunion, a family vacation, her cousin's wedding and the school father-daughter dance (twice) throughout the years.

Kings tennis player Matt Allare literally missed home. He was gone nine of 12 weeks during the summer and competed in eight tournaments from West Virginia to Louisiana.

"It was fun going new places, but there were times I was homesick because I couldn't sleep in my bed or see my friends and animals," Allare says. "I'd like to have a week off every three weeks. That would be good."

Randy Bradberry has traveled the country with his son Tony, a Lakota West wrestler who was in 21 tournaments last year. The Bradberrys spent $9,660 on such things as travel, camps and equipment.

Recently, father and son pondered the question: Is it all just too much?

"Would you rather quit, and me give you $10,000 a year?" Randy asked.

Tony shrugged.

"No," he said. "What would I do with my time?"

3 Sport Athletes Become Rare

This article was in the Cincinnati Enquirer and is one of a series.

Seven Hills senior Riley Grimme used to play it all: football, basketball, soccer.

Freshman year, he decided to focus on one sport - basketball - to train more often, excel at the varsity level and aim for a scholarship.

"I could have been middle-of-the-road at all three sports," Grimme says. "I'd much rather be the best at one."

So goes the demise of the three-sport athlete.

As the cost to compete rises, hundreds of athletes like Grimme are favoring domination in one sport over participation in three. By sinking their time, energy and parents' money into the chosen sport, these athletes are working for a payoff in the future.

"The world has changed," says John Gillis, assistant director of the National Federation of State High School Associations. "Unfortunately, so much specialization has made (three-sport athletes) a thing of the past."

The national federation does not keep track of three-sport athletes in its 18,546 schools. Ohio and Kentucky high school athletic associations don't count them, either. Nobody can say for sure how far multisport athlete numbers have declined, or how fast, but administrators and coaches pin the trend to the past two decades.

Many athletes say they simply don't have enough time to play multiple sports because of their club sports obligations. Some club coaches want athletes to streamline their efforts into one sport to get optimal training.

And one sport's supplemental training might coincide with another sport's high school varsity season. For example, some club baseball would interfere with high school football in the fall, or club volleyball might overlap with high school softball in the spring.

"(Club sports are) pretty demanding," Taylor boys' soccer coach Jim Mercer says. "They force kids to choose at an early age. And if you end up not making the high school team, you have nothing to fall back on."

Specialization isn't just for varsity players. Some kids are focusing on one sport in middle school, just to get a head start for high school.

Seton senior volleyball setter Chelsea Graman says her parents' rule was "no specialization" until at least the end of middle school.

"They didn't want me to get burned out, and really there was no need to get into such a demanding schedule," she says. "I had a chance to try other sports."

Moeller senior Jason Cisper says he was ready to specialize in baseball after his freshman year, so he quit football. He now plays in a Champions Baseball Academy fall league.

"Sometimes I miss football game days, but I don't regret it," Cisper says. "I understand I made that choice."

It's hard to know if an athlete made the right decision by specializing, says Jan McCollam. Her daughter Kelly, a Turpin senior, is an accomplished gymnast who trains 20 to 24 hours a week and competes in 19 meets a year between club and school.

Kelly says there's no other sport she'd rather play.

"I still think she would have been good at soccer," Jan McCollam says. "I would have liked her to do more. But you can't do it all."

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Football And Boosters Around The Country

This is an incredible piece about what high schools around the country are doing with regards to booster groups and high school athletic programs.

I work in a setting where the Athletic Booster group is an absolute necessity to our survival. They raise over $100,000 per year for our teams.

When I read this article though, it scares me...where will it all end?


http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=email_us&refer=us&sid=aaqG21AIhLvM

High School Sports As A Classroom

By: Tony Hemmelgarn

So you have kids playing sports at every level on too many teams to count? Ever ask yourself, “Why are we doing this?” This past school year we had over 800 student-athletes on our rosters. I have had the opportunity to speak with many parents and kids about the things they have learned from playing on our teams. Many of the virtues of sport are obvious to all, but others may be less apparent. The fact is that all extracurricular activities are valuable complements to the overall educational process.

According to the National Federation of High Schools, “activities are an extension of a good educational program. Students who participate in activity programs tend to have higher grade point averages, better attendance records and fewer discipline problems.” In addition, “activity programs provide valuable lessons for practical situations – teamwork, sportsmanship, winning and losing, and hard work.” Students learn time management, build self-discipline and self-confidence, and develop skills that will help them to handle competitive situations for the rest of their lives.

A recent conversation with school counselor and parent Su Randall led to a few specific lessons that can be learned from the competitive settings that sports offer. They are listed in no particular order, but they are lessons that are real.

  • If you want to improve, you have to work harder and work smarter. This does not guarantee that you will be the best player on the team or even play. There may always be players who are better than you. Ideally, everybody on the team is working hard. This will guarantee that you will be prepared when it’s your chance to shine. If you are doing the same work and getting undesirable results, then you learn to evaluate what you are doing and change it to do better.
  • Things aren’t always fair. You learn to do what you can to the best of your ability and then move on. How things turn out has more to do with how you react to obstacles than what the obstacles actually are. You can do hard things, and you can overcome adverse situations.
  • Character counts only for those people who have character. Some on your team may not. You can’t worry about those people. Do your best to be your best and remember that they are learning too. Who you are and what you stand for will win out in the end…and the end may be far away. Winning may not be what you thought it would be, but you will come out on top.
  • If necessary, you can work with, get along with and succeed with people that you may not like. There is no rule that you all have to like everybody on your team, but you do have to work together to reach goals.
  • You learn that you can handle disappointment. Many times, things don’t work out as we had hoped, and guess what? We learn that tomorrow is a new day and that we can go on and the next time we’ll give it our best shot once more.

As educators and parents it’s our responsibility to graduate kids who become responsible adults and productive citizens. The more we can do to encourage involvement in the “classroom outside of the classroom” will enhance our ability to achieve this end.

Odds Of Playing In College

By: Tony Hemmelgarn

With the cost of attending a four-year college increasing by as much as 10% per year, many families are taking a serious look at just how they can afford higher education. Add multiple kids to the mix and the potential dollars can be quite intimidating.

How can we pay for all of this? Many will start saving the minute the newborn arrives. Others will save as they can and take out loans. Some will accept the fact that their child will have to foot the bill. Unfortunately, far too many will begin preparing for an athletic scholarship the minute that newborn is able to kick a ball, swing a bat or run around the house in “world record time”. Do you know of a family thinking this way?

It’s true that nobody ever made it to the next level without thinking they could. It’s also true that to just have a chance at playing beyond high school takes an incredible amount of energy, effort and focus over several years. Not to mention the abundance of God given talent that must be present.

Just how good do you have to be? The following statistics are from the National Collegiate Athletic Association website (ncaa.org) and I share them with you to offer a little perspective. Out of 1,006,400 high school basketball players (male and female), 30,100 of them will have an opportunity to play ball at an NCAA institution. That represents approximately 3 out of every 100 kids playing at the high school level. Put another way, on average, 3 seniors every 10 years from a school may get a chance to play basketball in college. Odds are a little better for football, baseball and soccer players to the tune of about 6 kids out of every 100 seniors.

To take it a step further, only Division 1 schools offer full-scholarships for the majority of their basketball and football rosters. Division III schools don’t offer athletic scholarships in any sport and Division II schools do so on a limited basis. Most universities just don’t have “full-rides” for the entire roster in soccer, track, cross-country, baseball, softball, lacrosse, swimming or any of the other programs. They offer only a limited number or they split what they have among the entire team. Your “scholarship” could be the cost of books for 4 years or “$1,000 now and we’ll see how you do”.

Every year there are high school parents critical of decisions that coaches must make that could affect “the scholarship”. Youth sport parents continue to push their kids to more games and better teams without checking the level of passion the child has to compete. Select and club coaches gladly accept more of your money while selling the dream of “the scholarship”. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, many kids decide they don’t like the chosen sport any more because they are burned out. It’s been too intense for too long and it just isn’t fun anymore. Then they don’t even play in high school.

If your child loves their sport and wants to work at it with a goal of playing in college, then go for it. Athletic scholarships are a great thing for those select few who can beat the odds and earn one. In this pursuit, however, don’t forget to ask your son or daughter, “What price are you willing to pay?”