Varsity Sports Funding

I have a neat idea. Feel free to bounce it around (no sports pun intended).

What if highschool varsity sports were funded by professional sporting leagues?

The tax money slotted for public school phys-ed courses should be paying for fitness activities that benefit the average kid, and for teachers who are experienced in matters of health, fitness, and maybe even youth psychology. Fewer kids would be turned off physical fitness if we had more teachers who were sensitive to the concerns of average non-athletes who nevertheless need to know how to keep themselves healthy.

For the few kids who are so good at sports that they want to make a career out of it, there should be some other source of funding. I suggest professional leagues, because those leagues will eventually benefit when those kids graduate (or at least after they graduate college). Also because pro sports leagues make more money than they know what to do with.

For example, the NFL could buy new protective equipment for a boys’ highschool football team. A catch would be that they’d have to double the amount of money given so that a girls’ team at the same school (of the school’s choice, perhaps) would get funding. Alternately, if someone were to give money to re-floor a basketball court that both boys’ and girls’ teams played on, they’d only have to pay once, because it would already benefit both.

This was inspired by two things. First, my own thought is that public school phys-ed focuses too much on competitive sports and only pays lip service to individual fitness and well-being, thus negating its supposed purpose of keeping average kids from becoming couch potatoes. Second, a teacher acquaintance of mine described her school’s (a) refusal to pay for a bus to send a science class to a university technical fair while (b) simultaneously sending a football team on a ‘field trip’ which consisted of letting them loose with spending money to buy lunch and strut around a mall all afternoon.

[sarcasm]Sure, and have hollywood fund art programs, and Nashville fund bands and choruses (chori?). We can have the NIH fund health classes.[/sarcasm]

High School Athletics aren’t just for those who are going on to profesional careers. Student-athletes learn valuable lessons and provide an outlet for students - any student - to develope a healthier lifestyle.

Second, you need to look at what some profesional sports are bringing in in terms of revenues. Several Hockey teams have declared or are considering declaring bankrupcy. MLB is struggling - remember the debates last summer about shrinking the number of teams?

Finally, if we are going to go this route, why should the NFL (to use your example) have to pay extra money to fund girls’ sports as well? If HS sports are just training grounds for tomorrow’s pros, then the female pro leagues can pay for them.

Most if not all states are finding it almost impossible to fund schools adequately. School budgets were already tight. Now, funds will be even less. I don’t know how athletics will end up being financed. It would not shock me to learn that many athletic programs will be eliminated. I think athletics provide great learning opportunities for students. Unfortunately these opportunities will be lost without adequate funding. I see this happening within the next two or three years.

Professional sports leagues and teams often do try to help out youth sports programs either with time or money. It’s also not uncommon for athletes themselves to make donations to their old high schools or leagues. But as for the leagues completely funding high school sports, it’ll never happen. Too much money–and that cost will all be passed on to fans.

High School Athletics aren’t just for those who are going on to profesional careers. Student-athletes learn valuable lessons and provide an outlet for students - any student - to develope a healthier lifestyle.

I’m not saying that all athletic programs should be eliminated or denied public funding-- just that the public funding should be paying for programs and resources (intramural or after-school sports, weight rooms with proper supervision, etc.) that are accessible to all students, instead of for varsity sports that are only going to involve a small elite of students who are already athletically inclined.

And my reasoning for having funding matched for girls’ sports is that there aren’t that many professional women’s sporting leagues out there. (If a women’s league were to give money to a highschool girls’ team, they’d have to match it for the boys. This isn’t about PC-ism, but making sure that both sexes have the same sports opportunities in school.) I agree that not every highschool varsity athlete becomes a pro athlete, but a girl should have the same opportunities in highschool as a boy would. (What happens after she graduates is another story.)