One solution to conflicts between club athletic programs and interscholastic competition was suggested this week on the Sports Illustrated on-line site -- high schools should just quit fielding athletic teams.
The Reno (Nevada) Gazette-Journal originally published the comments of Len Stevens, a former college basketball coach and current executive director of the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce. In the article, he suggested we should “kick it (high school sports) to the curb” and go the way of the European model focusing solely on club sports.
Bob Gardner, the executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations, responded in a national release, "As the head of an organization that provides leadership to 51 state high school associations, 19,000 high schools and more than 7.6 million student-athletes involved in high school sports, I am pleased to report that funeral arrangements have been cancelled."
The United States is the only country in the world that has high school athletics on a national level and the purpose is to develop good citizens for a democracy. The 1912 founding documents of the N.C. High School Athletic Association state the goal of the organization is teaching, not winning contests or developing athletes who are capable of competing in college.
More than 150 million people attended high school athletic contests 2009-2010 school year. Participation in high school sports is an all-time high, Interscholastic athletics can be a binding force in communities.
Employers want workers who can work alone or in a group, who can persevere, who can handle adversity and success, who are dedicated and have loyalty, who have integrity and who can abide by rules and regulations. Those are the things high school sports are designed to teach.
High school athletics teach those things. Interscholastic athletics have an educational aspect that club sports do not. High school sports are an American treasure.