posted on February 02, 2010 03:37
A lot of school sports administrators may feel like “Punxsutawney Phil” who will disappear for six more weeks of winter if he sees his shadow today.
Some may wish to keep their heads down and sleep while the bright light is shining on local school sports budgets. But they can’t.
School district leadership is reducing or eliminating transportation services, reducing the scope of junior varsity schedules, reevaluating support of junior high/middle school sports, merging or eliminating athletic directors’ jobs, initiating or raising student participation fees and, understandably, looking for cover from constituents’ wrath by working for coordinated actions by leagues or within intermediate school districts.
During all this, athletic leaders must climb out of their holes and be seen and heard, respectfully cautioning the public that changes made too wide and cuts made too deep could fundamentally and permanently change the fabric of educational athletics, and eliminate their ability to strengthen students, schools and communities.
What we do in school sports is done for sound, educational reasons; and the history and rationale of every policy and procedure should be reviewed before we act to reduce or eliminate a standard practice. “Does the financial crisis trump the sound educational reason for the policy or procedure? Can we make the change for financial reasons today without ruining the program’s integrity long term?”
We’ve got to pop out of our holes, even if the light is bright, and be fully engaged in raising and answering those kinds of questions.