Getting Cut From A Sports Team

Ten Reasons to Re-Examine Cuts Below High School Varsity

10. Cutting cannot be justified by budgetary constraints

After a tough hurricane season during the fall of 2005, school administrators from the Charlotte County, Florida middle schools cancelled intra school sports. They feared that fuel for the team busses would be scarce and expensive. Athletic directors decided to include all children who wanted to play in a new intramural program. After running the numbers it was announced that it costs the district the same amount of money to run either program. At Port Charlotte Middle School, 90 girls were now able to participate in after school volleyball instead of the 12 who traditionally make the cut.

Given the extreme pressure falling tax revenues are placing on school budgets, measures expanding the size of sports programs, many say, are simply not possible.  But financial constraints do not justify cuts at the middle and high school levels either. Limited resources don't justify an inherently unfair practice at odds with the educational purposes of interscholastic athletics. In any event, budget savings from cutting are usually insignificant (especially if the no-cut policy means only that athletes continue to practice with the team, not that they are guaranteed an oportunity to play against other schools, as many high schools have done under the United States Tennis Association's no-cut program). Whether a school continues to cut or eliminates the practice is usually just a matter of how it sets its priorities. In most instances, no request for extra funds to avoid cutting has ever been made, so no one knows whether the funds are available or not. If the community is sufficiently motivated to eliminate the practice of cutting, the high school athletic booster club or an ad hoc group of parents may be able to raise the extra funds needed (as I did for my son's middle school football program),  

In fact, some schools are realizing that it makes more sense to earmark scarce financial resources for an inclusive intramural program than for an exclusive competitive program. As one athletic director said, "If you want more bang for your buck, more kids out of trouble after school, intramural is the way to go."


 

Brooke de Lench is the founder of MomsTeam, youth sports expert, consultant and author of HOME TEAM ADVANTAGE: The Critical Role of Mothers In Youth Sports (HarperCollins).

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Updated November 7, 2017

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