Archive for the ‘Youth Sport’ Category

Pay to Play or Sit to Save

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Sondra can’t reasonably afford to participation for her two children to play baseball at the local recreation center. the problem is that the health promotion community is encouraging parents to emphasize physical activity  and healthy life styles but too often outlets for youth sports and activities are limited for low income families. Registration fees and organizing costs are contributing to an unequal  participation based on class and increased obesity rates.

When Sondra met with the Rec-center Director she was told that sport participation is a privilege and not a right. This is a valid point  considering the risk of injury in sport. Even though it is a privilege, we as a society have an obligation to improve social equality and overall health. It can be argued that future generations have more of a right to participation because of the increased threats of unhealthy or sedentary lifestyles in a technology and junk food saturated environment.

Allowing for more options for low-income families to work around financial constrains  can be an effective mode of improving participation equality. One option would be to explore multi-payment programs for  qualifying families. Families with more expendable income could be charged more, with the extra funds directed toward qualifying low income families. Volunteer time could also be offered to compensate for costs, but many single parents often cant spare enough time away form work.  Youth sports could also partner with other assistance programs utilized by some low income families.

A fall in youth sports participation for low income families contributes to more health disparities in the long run and more difficulties for families introducing their children to extracurricular activities in the short term. Communities should consider offering as many options to improve access to sports participation for those who arguably need it the most.

Get Rich or Die Trying….

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

This article is really disturbing to me, as I know she is not the only single parent that has suffered this type of discrimination. The decision that the director made was very damaging to Sondra a single mother, that probably does a lot for her children but she cannot afford to help her kids stay active due to the costs of participation. This type of issue is in my opinion just what is most efficient. I am sure there are ways the director could work with the system to try and get families that can’t financially pay for their kids to participate in sport. I worked for the City of Durango and I know of many times that the director of youth sport worked ways to fit every child into the sport. I am sure the director is right and there was indeed budget cuts but it seems that there is some way that they could come up with maybe a payment system or higher discount for her situation. But we also don’t know how many other families have approached the director in need of assistance and if he finds a way to discount or help Sondra out and other families find out he may feel obligated to do it for any families that say they need help. I believe the director is in the wrong. We complain that American have such a high obesity rate in children and they lack physical activity but this is one of the exact reasons why some children are obese. They just simply can’t afford to participate in sport.


This video discusses how expensive it cost for youth to participate in sporting activities.

Everybody wants money

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

First we have to recognize the ethical issue which is, Sondra does not have the funds to afford baseball for her two children, the fee is $75 per child and the director of the rec center will not help Sondra financially.  Even though the league offers a $25 discount for families with multiple children playing in the sport, the rec center had recent budget cuts and there for were not willing to help. Sondra was  also told that sport participation is a privilege not a right.

There are a few alternatives that could possibly work if the rec center is willing to change there policy on financial aid. My first alternative would be house holds that have single parents and multiple children entering into a sport, the fee should be two for the price of one, so it should only be $75 for two kids, that rule will only apply for single parents. Another alternative i have thought of is allowing parents to make small payments at the beginning of each month until the full amount is covered. That way single parents such as Sondra do not have to pay for the entire fee up front, she has time to make the money and in return her children are able to participate in sports.

Both of these alternatives would have to be voted for by the rec center and then tested once the season has started. If parents are given multiple payments at the beginning of each month, and they are all making their payments on time, then it should be a option for those that are single parents with multiple children. On the other hand, if the rec center is seeing a major decline in profit due to the alternative, two for the price of one, that might not be the best option for the rec center. I believe if this rec center is willing to work with these alternatives, there will be more parents that are able to pay for their children to play, and in return more money will be flowing in. [youtube][/youtube]

Playing For Keeps…the cost of youth sports participation.

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

 Sondra, a mother of four, is in quite a pickle. She wants her two oldest children to play baseball, but is faced with the tough decision of paying $125 that she really doesn’t have, or, have them miss out on the educational and social benefits offered by sports. With no financial assistance available, it appears that Sondra’s children will have to miss out on participating in baseball due to the heavy financial burden of participation fees.

This situation is not unique to just Sondra, more and more parents are having to make similar decisions all across America.

From the article Participation in youth sports on the decline:

“We’re seeing parents having more of a struggle,” said Josh Pruce, media director for Pop Warner Football, Langhorne, Pa. “Parents may pay for one or two sports, but not three or four sports.” As more families struggle to make ends meet, they may see the registration fees and equipment costs as expendable.”

This article can be accessed at

If more parents are having a tough time paying for youth sports, any increase in price would more than likely result in them withdrawing their children from sports.

The high cost associated with youth sports participation is already limiting access for many families, so if the costs were to continue to increase and further limit or lower participation, would it be ethical to put to use the saying “sports are a privilege, not a right” to justify the increased fees and lower participation rates? Wouldn’t this only further emphasize the statement “only the privileged are privileged”, which is unethical as well?

Some type of alternative has to be available. There has to be some way to make sports cheaper to participate in. Surely there is a way to make scholarships available to low income families.

Fundraising opportunities, as well sponsorships deals with local businesses would surely alleviate a portion of the participation fees. I believe actions like these, as well as exploring other options could make sport more accessable and affordable to all children and their families.

The current trend must change, as I feel that all children should have access to sports, regardless of their family’s financial situation. Sport fosters social growth, as well as promote physical activity, commitment, and accountability, all of which are vital to a child’s success later in life. Youth sports participation should not be limited or controlled by the amount of money families possess. Everyone should have equal access.


More Exercise or More $$$$?

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

The situation for Sondra paying US$125 for her two children to play in a youth baseball league is financially troublesome for her.  Once she realized this was not fitting her budget she spoke with the director of the recreation center.  He told her that because of the current budget cuts they were unable to assist her with the fees and that playing sports was a privilege, not a right.  Without the financial help from the recreation center it seems as though Sondra’s children will be unable to participate in the youth baseball league.  Does it seem ethically right to offer youth sports to people who are financially capable or should the people with issues be provided with help? Simple, it should be attacked like college by offering the financial aid approach for people with those needs.

Unfortunately, the tough place that Sondra is put in financially is an issue that pertains to many families.

From the article Youth sports costing more time and money:

It is a reality that many parents are facing when it comes to their children playing sports. Want your child to get a college scholarship? Be prepared to ante up. Even if your child does excel at the game, there are only so many scholarships to go around. Playing competitive sports isn’t cheap. And there isn’t really any end in sight.

With entering two children into the recreation program, Sondra receives a US$25 discount.  Although this helps her out slightly, she is still having issues meeting the financial demands to enter her children into the program.

Since youth sport has become an issue for the budget of some families, some youth programs have applications families can fill out to find the financial assistance in paying for these sports. For example financial aid for Youth Sports YMCA is now provided. The YMCA site says:

Thanks to the United Way of the Midlands and the YMCA’s “Strong Kids Campaign,” financial assistance is available for those in need within our available resources.

This can be found at

By providing families with the option to apply for financial aid, it allows for them to be more capable of paying for their children to participate in youth sports.  If this can be done in more areas, then more children will be able to stay active in sports that they like to engage and participate in.

One.Hundred.Billion.Dollars…to play sports?

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

Sondra must pay at least 125 dollars for her two older children to be able to play baseball at their local recreational center. Although she isn’t in the best financial situation the recreational center will not give her any sort of assistance and it does not seem that her children will end up being able to play. Why should they not be able to play simply because they can not pay the fees? Is it ethically right to deprive children of the opportunity to play sport because their parents can’t afford it? I believe it’s not.

Youth sport has become a very expensive “opportunity” and is causing many people being put in a situation to choose one way or another. 

This article shows examples of what people say about youth sport becoming too expensive such as:

“We had some people pull out of our team because they were already playing touch, which has got high fees as well, and they couldn’t justify paying both sets of fees.”

Although Sondra was offered some help because she had multiple children entering the program she was still unable to afford the fees and I believe that is not right, there are other options.

There are some recreational programs that now offer assistance such as scholarships for those who qualify. Fairfax County offers assistance for low income families who do not already receive help for sports.

The Fairfax County Department of Community and Recreation Services (CRS) provides registration fee scholarships and equipment voucher to help eligible youth participate in sports programs in Fairfax County. This scholarship program provides assistance to youths from low income families who are not currently being served by existing scholarship or fee waiver programs.

You can find this article and example of an application at: 

Children should all be given equal opportunity to play sports as it has many benefits such as leadership, teamwork, and commitment. No families should be turned away because of their financial situation.


Friday, October 25th, 2013

When discussing the issue of lowering the GPA requirements for student athletes and whether or not it hurts them, there are a few factors that need to be addressed. The first is question is, does it actually hurt the students? And secondly, how does it affect the school?

As far as the students go, I don’t think their GPA holds any real weight as far as their intelligence/ success goes. To me all it says is that they can take orders and regurgitate information. A good GPA only means that yes, I am a perfect candidate for you to shape and mold into what society wants. Now I’m not saying that is a bad thing. A good GPA is really helpful, and students should take pride in the fact that they can excel above others in certain subjects. However, they should apply that pride and knowledge towards helping others, instead of being egocentric and victimizing themselves. Just cause a student athlete doesn’t have a good GPA doesn’t mean he/ she is a slacker and hasn’t worked hard, they just don’t learn in the “standard” way.

Now as far as schools go, lowering the GPA standards may cause them to lose government funding which can cause issues, but that presents an entirely different ethical issue. How should we feel about the government and our economy if all they want is people who can learn “their way?”


Lowering GPA standards: Until you get paid millions of dollars to play a sport you better be reading a book

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Many athletes these days are starting to lose the pride of the term STUDENT athlete. When I hear the term student athlete I think of someone who works just as hard on the field/court as they do in the classroom. Some high schools are beginning to lower the standard for athletes when it comes to the GPA required to compete, going from a 2.5 GPA to a 1.7 GPA. Having lowered the GPA it is okay if an athlete who has 6 classes to have 4 C’s and 2 D’s, that is passing! In these high schools I believe administrators are attempting to keep some athletes off the streets and trying to prevent them from getting into trouble such as joining gangs, selling or doing drugs.

As much as administrators are trying to keep these athletes out of these situations, it does not help them succeed in life because once they graduate high school, will they have a GPA high enough to attend college? If an athlete cannot pass and/or struggles with the subjects Math, English or Science all being the core subjects of standardizing testing and of the ACT/SAT, how can they get a high school diploma? Even more so if an athlete wants to play at a collegiate level will they be able to get their GPA high enough to be accepted into an institution? Will they be able to maintain a GPA high enough to be eligible for playing time?  Al Woods author of “Warning: Student Athletes, Bad Grades Will Make You Invisible to College Coaches!” writes:

“I would guarantee you that one of the first questions a college coach will ask anyone about a particular student athlete is: “What are their grades like?”If the answer to that question is not a good answer, then you can best believe that’s the end of that discussion about that student athlete.” -Woods, Al

Therefore, administrators are not setting up these student athletes to be successful later on in life after high school. And until these athletes can prepare for their studies on a daily basis as they would if they were to play in the state championship game, they are going to have a hard time being victorious.

GPA Is Not the Root of the Problem

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Building well rounded student athletes requires a certain level of commitment from the team, and an equal effort from the coaching/administration staff. Having high school athletes meet a minimum grade point average has been a common method used throughout the nation for awhile now and has proven to be an excellent motivator. However there is the issue of students who are great competitors on the field, but not in the classroom. To challenge this dilemma the school administration of some schools, similar to the ones in the video, are lowering the GPA requirements drastically in order to keep more players eligible.

Essentially the idea behind this reduction in expectations is that players who have struggled in class before will have a little less stress when it comes to making the academic cut. Theoretically they will be more inclined to strive towards success on their report cards. Unfortunately, student athletes that had no problem meeting the old requirements before the change now have two new options. Continue to cruise through their studies and excel in sports, or to let their old self standards plummet. This could potentially encourage students subconsciously that they can now worry less on school and lean towards more self-destructive hobbies.

As for the students who’s GPAs were borderline before, now feel that their mentors have little confidence in them. This could paint the image in the students that they need “training wheels,” so to speak, when it comes to their grades. This change in educational requirement does not fix the problem. Perhaps schools should spend more time figuring out where the errors in communication between student and teacher reside, rather than stressing over the football teams record. School administrations should consider more “big picture” concepts when attempting to create solutions to these types of issues in academia.

Mixed Messages…Student-Athlete or Just Athlete?

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

What kind of messages are we sending to student-athletes if we set low standards for GPA.  Should they also expect that the bar be lowered for them as adults after playing sports in school?  How can we expect so little of high school athletes, but once they turn 18 we have unrealistic professional expectations of them?  Lowering GPA requirements for student-athletes ultimately hurts our future generation of leaders and work force.  It changes the role of the student-athlete to just an athlete.

 According to Ted Biondo (ESPN video clip: OTL: Lowering GPA Standards), “If that’s the only thing keeping them in school, how does that affect the other kids.”

Alex trautmann is a baseball player with a 3.2 GPA and he has an interesting point of view on lowering GPA for student-athletes.

Alex Trautmann makes a compelling statement when he says, “School is not important, learning is not important.”

Another conscientious  student from the ESPN video clip, Aida Cornier, has tutored many student-athletes and has seen a change in attitudes from when GPA standards were higher at her school to lower standards now in effect.  She mentions that a 2.5 GPA motivated the student-athletes she tutored to work harder and now many have the impression that they can slack off with the lower standards.  In light of what Aida says, we have to wonder if lowering the bar for these students to play sports will help them to graduate from their institutions or help them achieve their future goals in life.  Where did the role of high schools change from educating our youth to shifting the focus onto sports?