Following his dismissal, a mid-Michigan high school coach was quoted in the local newspaper as saying “The environment is toxic.”

His reference may have been to the people in the stands and their personal attacks which his family would have to endure; and if that was the case, it wasn’t the first place and, unfortunately, won’t be the last place where adult spectators – usually parents – ruin the experience.  This behavior is most often what both coaches and athletic directors will cite as the No. 1 problem in school sports – at least it was until the current financial calamity.

But something else about this local controversy caught my attention, something that I think is closer to the source of the poison in our programs.  It is this:  In covering this story, the writer includes long quotes from a Midwest recruiting analyst who had graduated 19 years earlier from this particular high school.

What is really “toxic” about high school sports is the increasing attention to the ranking of high school teams and players, the deference given to ranking and recruiting “gurus,” the delusional expectations of parents, and the unscrupulous underworld of college recruiting that is behind it all.

Fortunately, most of our schools are still far removed from this unsavory scene; but like the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico, the ooze is spreading, the stench is drifting and the mostly pristine environment of educational athletics is slowly being poisoned.

For more about the realities of the recruiting scene, click here.

Posted in: Finance


Rick Stone
# Rick Stone
Tuesday, June 15, 2010 7:39 PM
As an example, one of my former colleagues was harassed by a parent because he was costing the child a chance at a pro career. My colleague was coaching a JV football team...

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