Sports in the interscholastic level have become a major way for young people to appreciate their experience in school and the education that come along with it. Interscholastic sports are acknowledged and significant in U.S. high schools. The problems with interscholastic sports tend to arise once they take over the values and public outline of the school. Instead of being concerned with education, athletes and anyone involved in the sports are primarily engrossed in on the specific sport. A lot of the responses to this topic are based more on emotions. The claims for and against are highly exaggerated. This issue, even till this day, is a major topic that many high school officials speak upon every day. The importance of questioning sports in interscholastic level is so high due to how influential sports are on high school students. Before 1900, extracurricular activities were not seen for any value. People felt as if “school should focus solely on narrowly defined academic outcomes. Non-academic activities were viewed as being primarily recreational and therefore were detrimental to academic achievement, and consequently were discouraged” (Marsh & Kleitman, 2002, para. 5). During this time period, education was everyone’s sole purpose of living. With this way of achievement, youths were identified by their intelligence. There was hardly any way to recognize the greatness that one could bring to a room of people. It wasn’t until the 20th century that researchers and examiners were able to state the idea due to continuous research and experiments that school was not the only way to be acknowledged. Marsh and Kleitman stated that extracurricular activities help bring a more beneficial academic experience. From this, people were able to question if sports could continue to make a detrimental change for the youth even while still attending school to get ready for the college intensity. Sports involve students in events at school and increase the interest in academic progression. According to studies that have been made in the United States, high school athletes make a tremendous break through as a whole in their grade point averages. The positive attitudes that come from sports can increase the interest to apply their mind to going to college. The sports participation has helped with achievement academically, physically, emotionally, and personally. Every athlete is different when it comes to how they change due to sports, but as long as there is a strong supporting cast from family and friends, it is easier to conquer the issues that reside in the athlete’s identity. The activities and relationships that athletes go through benefit or impair how one will grow as a person on a team full of different personalities. Sports make a difference for high school students. Several interscholastic sports at the high school level have confirmed to be constructive in establishing academic triumph. Though the sport may have nothing to do with the academic curriculum, sports do have a way of allowing young people to feel a sense of commitment. This helped through the NCAA term, “student-athlete”. This term allows the idea to be enhanced that an individual has to get their education before they decide to participate in any kind of sport. This kind of commitment allows students to motivate themselves to do better in the classrooms so that they could allow themselves to do better on the field or on the court. With this idea of being a student-athlete, students strive to be a part of college for both the education and athletics since they are able to attend a top university for their intelligence. Being that involvement on a school team is valued throughout U.S. high schools, the percentage rate of for more positive educational experiences increase. It tends to happen that sports go hand-in-hand with better scores and college aspirations. There is prevention from the society’s negative happenings such dropouts, delinquency in neighborhood actions, and poor decisions with gangs (McNeal 1995). Sports continue to make a difference in high schools for young men and women that never would have thought to go as far as continuing onto college for a bachelor’s degree. As much as sports make a difference for students, there are some precise claims that go against sports on the interscholastic level. In several sports such as basketball, football, and track & field, there is a pressure to create a ranked status system where athletes are unfairly honored over other students. Even though the athletes are rewarded more and appreciated for the positive view given to the school, there are still other students putting in work at the secondary school through their academics and extracurricular activities that aren’t athletic and more artistic. As many people know, sports establish most of the major social school events. Athletes are treasured for that since school is more entertaining to go to once there is school spirit mixed with a great education. Research has also proposed that when identifying a student as a “jock”, you connect the student to the idea that they are socially unreserved. The terms 'athlete' and 'jock' are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are really descriptions of two distinct sport-related identities (Miller et al., 2003). Even though the research on this can vary throughout different high schools, these two kind of athletic people can modify how interscholastic sports change the environment in the school. With this status system, athletic students such as jocks control the school. There is an impact that sports have on a high school’s values. With the disruption in the school’s values, the culture moves from academic excellence to physical success.
Intercollegiate sports are definitely making an influence on the lives of high school students. Many researchers have promoted the idea that interscholastic sports have been a great way for athletes to achieve sportsmanship and citizenship. With these qualities, they would be able to take this passed high school and onto to their college experiences, careers, and into the general public. The self-discipline that one receives from working hard with a group to accomplish one goal of a win can eventually change the progression of today’s youth. In this study from the Department of Education in 1987, African-American and Hispanic boys and girls from High School and Beyond Study to see how interscholastic athletic participation effect their education, Melnick, Sabo, and Vanfossen were able to there are times when “sports participation was generally unrelated to grades and standardized test scores. Due to the racial or ethnic groups, the athletic participation helped benefit the increase in grade. From these findings, it could be highly considered “that high school sports should only be considered one of many institutional forces converging in the lives of American minority youth” (Melnick, Sabo, Vandossen 1992). With studies like this, student-athletes will continue to move onto college and be able to succeed as high and most likely even higher than in high school.
There’s a long debate to decide if interscholastic sports truly effect an athlete’s achievement. For many years, students have ended their school day by participating in athletic practices. The question is does partaking in any athletic teams have any kind of effect on the student’s performance in the classroom? The answer to this question has been disputed for years from parents, teacher, and school officials. There is intensifying proof that athletic contribution has a helpful effect on the lives of participating students (Stegman & Stephens, 2003). A lot of the evidence display better school attendance and improvement in the perspective that peers have about an individual (Silliker & Quirk, 1997). While sports have been a productive tool for student-athletes, will it continue to be a high rank in how to improve the education system? In conclusion, interscholastic sports have made a difference in the lives on many students throughout the United States. There are more ways that sports have made a difference than been a negative outcome for a student in high school. The relationship that is built between students and interscholastic sports prove that sports will allow students to feel motivation to do better for their present and their future. With the support from examiners, people will always be able to prove that sports have an effect no matter the environment that they live in. As explained before, sports are a great influence on students and it will soon be an influence on today’s society by pressing the idea that young people of today will be the leaders of society that lives on years from now. Sports made the difference to promote a better lifestyle instead of living in society’s downfall.
• Melnick, M. J., Sabo, D. F., & Vanfossen, B. (1992). International review for the sociology of sport. In Educational effects of interscholastic athletic participation on African-American and Hispanic youth. Department of Physical Education and Sport, State University of New York, College at Brockport: Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1621561?log$=activity
• Stegman, M., & Stephans, L. J. (2000). Athletics and academics: Are they compatible?. In High School Magazine Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ601187&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=EJ601187
• McNeal, Ralf B., Jr. (1995). Extracurricular activities and high school dropouts. Sociology of Education 64,1:62-81
• Broh, Beckett A. (2002) Linking extracurricular programming to academic achievement: Who benefits and why? Sociology of Education 75, 1:69-95
• Marsh, H.W. & Kleitman, S. (2002). Extracurricular school activities: The good, the bad, and the non-linear. Harvard Education Review, 72, 464-514
• Marsh, H.W. & Kleitman, S. (2003). School athletic participation: Mostly gain with little. Journal of Adolescent research, 18, 188-203
• Otto, L.B. (1975). Extracurricular activities in the educational attainment process. Rural Sociology, 40, 162-176
• Perkins, D.F., Jacobs, J.E., Barber, B.L., & Eccles, J.S. (2004). Childhood and adolescent sports participation as predictors of participation in sports and physical fitness activities during young adulthood. Youth & Society, 35, 495-520.
• http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/pdf/37%5FPDF.pdf Provides data on participation in school athletics and data comparing participation in 1991 and 2006; encompasses variables not covered by data from the National High Schools Activity Association. The data are collected by Child Trends Data Bank, Washington, DC (2003)