I go to a private, Catholic High School.

Each year, we have an open house where prospective students and their parents come to look at the school and see what it has to offer. Which, as much as I might hate to admit it, is quite a bit. We have three large computer labs, that feature Visual Basic, Turbo Pascal, computer graphics programs, and Turbo CAD for architectual drafting. Our science labs feature things that aren't at many colleges. Atomic Absorbtion Spectrophotometers, Oscilloscopes, and Linear Air Tracks. Our labs are advanced enough that we used to actually run a business analyzing samples of soil for mining companies to determine mineral content.

Our other academic departments don't slack off either, in the past two years, of over 80 students taking the AP English test, 1 has received less than a three.

Oh, but if I had been giving one of the tours that is offered at my school, I wouldn't have provided enough information for most of the parents taking the tours. No, they would want to know about the athletics. They might ask, "So, with all of these academics, is she going to have time to play sports?" "Do you offer (insert sport here)?" It seems to me, that if you are going to be paying thousands of dollars per year for school, you would care more about the academic environment than the sports environment. Otherwise, why not just go to a public school? There are plenty of public schools that have fine athletic programs without the worry of those pesky academics being a problem.

But, that isn't how it works. Instead, this private school, is seen as a sports haven. The school knows that people see it like this, and they perpetuate the idea. They need almuni to donate money to the school, and winning sports teams is the answer. So, when the parents come shopping for a school where Johnny can become a big football star(! yeah right), the athletic aspect is played up. Parents and students are led into the gym to see all of our state championship banners (which have more than doubled while I have been there), and all of our trophies. The gym has tables set up for many activities, such as Speech & Debate, drama, National Honor Society, etc., and also for sports. The parents (and students) bypass these academic tables and a huge crowd gathers around the state championship basketball team. Parents go talk to the coaches, and even though their kids aren't even in high school, they know everything that has happened with the team.

Its like these parents don't recognize that nearly no one actually makes any money with sports. They don't realize that instead of playing three sports and never excelling at any of them, their students could be studying and doing well in school, which will help them to get a real job.

As I said, the school perpetuates this. Instead of being a private institution that is selective and difficult to get into, atheletes are let in easily. There are in fact remedial classes so that students can allegedly learn something while still maintaining eligibility, not that this is actually checked for. I talked to one of my teachers, and he informed me that when a football player was failing his class, no on came to see if he would still be eligible. Besides that, because of the way that the system is arranged (trimesters), even if a student would be ineligible, it doesn't happen until after most state championships.

Not to mention the recruiting. The school claims not to (they lie) and aren't allowed to. But, somehow, when a star athlete transferred from Boulder, he traveled for an hour long drive to go to our school and play football. I read in the paper about this happening all over the city. When you look at the banners on our gym wall, you see a grand total of three that came before 1994. After that year, there are at least 4 per year. And last year, there were over 10, with 5 coming in a single season! We missed class to congratulate these outstanding athletes for their extraordinary athletes at a pep rally. During the winter season, we won three, and had a pep rally, because it was "unheard of." yet, while looking at the banners during that extraordinary waste of time, I realized that it had happened no less than four times since 1994. And I missed class, and was given a half-day.

And, this presence of athletes has led to incredible problems for the school. They were forced (begrudingly, no doubt) to expel a football player for throwing 8 molarity HCl on another students face. 8!! Our locker rooms are a den of thieves, where nothing is safe. My own wallet was stolen, and all three(!) dollars were stolen. These people are paying thousands of dollars per year to go to school. I think their parents can swing three dollars. Of course, they probably don't want to ask them because the money feeds their drug and alcohol habits. People are drunk at masses, smoking weed on retreats, and getting addicted to God knows what. Who does this? Almost invariably, the athletes.

How has it gotten to this point?

When did parents start caring more about athletics than academics? When did schools start turning a blind eye to obvious mistakes in order to keep their teams strong. When did it get to the point where parents aren't interested in your program unless you show that you are the best in the state? When did it get to the point where it has rubbed off on the kids? I talked to a 10 year old kid who wanted to go to my school and play a sport. There were kids who stopped by my table (Speech & Debate) only to ask what our trophy (it is 5 feet tall) is for. Upon finding out, he promptly left. And even when the occasional parent stopped by who thought it would be nice for their student to do, the student wasn't interested. When did it get to the point of shopping for athletics programs? When did this atmosphere of athletecentrism become so pervasive?

I wish I knew.

I guess just /msg-ing me would have been too much trouble.
I attend the same school as my esteemed colleague LordNathan and I would like to point out that our football team, made up of mostly underclassmen, made a late surge in the state playoffs and finished in the top 4. Now, we would have surely won the state championship, but most of the good football players in the senior class (my class) were expelled before this year. One for the acid incident mentioned above, and another for engaging in some sort of sex act with a cheerleader in the locker room. These expulsions show the administration is at least partly serious about keeping athletes in line, even at the expense of the football team.

I think the situation is improving overall, but these are limited examples. Unlike LordNathan, I participate in sports at school. I play lacrosse, one of the first sports that I truly enjoy playing, and I'm on the verge of quitting before my final season due to the brainless morons who populate my team. My dad thinks that I "will definitely be missing out" if I renounce my chance to play on a varsity team. Right now, I'm really unsure. Do I love the sport enough to put up with idiots who hate me for another season?

Being in the throes of the college admissions process, I bear a great deal of resentment towards athletes who get the express lane into exclusive colleges. While I understand the economics of the situation (colleges use sporting events to raise money), the jock who gets the Golden Ticket to Stanford still took a spot that 100 other scholars actually deserved for their academic work. While athletic achievement should be respected and rewarded with a spot on a sports team, it does not warrant admission to an institute of education. Academics should always be the prime concern of any educational institution, not athletics.

Perhaps I'm bitter.

I understand that some people may not like this writeup. Instead of downvoting me, why don't you do yourself a favor and go read some hot redheads talk about their sex lives instead?

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