Note to Readers: I write this as a product and supporter of school athletic programs.
I’m on campuses, across the country, every week. Every week I witness the operations, activities and schedules of secondary schools impacted, adjusted, and circumvented by the needs of the athletic program and coaching staff. This is done without question. Regardless of near universal words to the contrary, based on actions and behaviors, athletics comes first on secondary campuses.
The campus academic program is diminished by pep rally schedules; early dismissal for travel to games; game day absences from class by the student-athlete; game day absences in the classroom by the teacher-coach; substandard instructional planning by the teacher-coach; and missed professional development and training by the teacher-coach.
I don’t argue the fact that participation in the campus athletic program does provide some benefits to some student-athletes. But at what cost?
What percentage of student athletes actually receive athletic scholarships? And of that small number, how many of these scholarships are full rides? And of the student-athletes who receive an athletic scholarship, how many of those students become professional athletes? The answers, in order… Single digits; Next to none; One – every 10 to 20 years, if we’re lucky.
Again, I’m not arguing that the campus athletic program is not valuable. But I am reminding every district / campus administrator and coach that athletics is a supplemental program… Not THE program. Make decisions and act accordingly.
Think. Work. Achieve.
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