Time to Take a Hard Look at School Sports

Jul 13, 2011 by

Ted Kaufman – I am a college sports fan, always have been, always will be. I love watching the games, but I haven’t liked watching what has been happening to the role of sports in our educational system.

Certainly, from a very early age sports should be part of the system. Healthy bodies, understanding teamwork and competition, learning the value of hard work and achieving excellence — these are all important goals and values that participation in organized sports can encourage and nurture.

We seem to be forgetting those values. The extraordinary rise in pay for professional athletes may be one contributing factor. News of the latest $100 million contract spurs too many high school students to put aside the books and concentrate instead on developing a good jump shot or a blazing fastball. In many communities, college scholarships do not go to those who spend nights and weekends studying. They go to kids who can block and tackle.

Far too many of these teenagers not only dream about but actually plan on a career in professional sports. Forget books. That’s not where the money is. Yet according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, an NBA team will eventually draft only 3 in 10,000 high school senior boys playing interscholastic basketball. Only 8 in 10,000 — still less than one tenth of one percent–of high school senior boys playing interscholastic football will eventually be drafted by an NFL team. The numbers in professional baseball and other professional sports are about the same. Placing all your bets as a teenager on making it as a professional athlete isn’t much better than planning your life by buying a lottery ticket.

Too many of these teenage athletes will be left without the skills to succeed in a modern competitive environment. There is an even crueler reality. Even those few who do play professionally may have real problems. Sports Illustrated reported in March that 60 percent of



are broke within five years of retiring. Within two years after their brief careers are over, 78 percent of NFL players are bankrupt or under financial stress because of joblessness or divorce.

via Ted Kaufman: Time to Take a Hard Look at School Sports.

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