Posted by: coachk97 | December 4, 2008



Posted by: coachk97 | December 4, 2008

Closing Statement

When I started this blog I wasn’t sure that doing a blog about student athletes wouldn’t be as productive as other topics that my fellow students had come up with, but as I went along I found out just how many articles are being written about them.  Blogging was an experience that I didn’t think I was going to like very much going in because I thought it was more for people that enjoyed debating each other on controversial issues and, though my Grandfather was the captain of the debate team at Purdue, I have been known to shy away from many an argument.  When I realized that I could write without being controversial and just find posts that I could agree with my anxiety was gone.  I began to enjoy writing about my topic without worrying about what people thought about it and found that it was very liberating to get all of my thoughts down when they had been bottled up for fear of being called out by someone more educated than me on the subject. In conclusion, this experience has helped me realize the importance of writing your thoughts down because they aren’t always articulated when they just sit in the brain and when you try to talk them out for the first time it just comes out as jibberish.

Posted by: coachk97 | December 2, 2008

It Can’t be all About the Money

This blog is supposed to be about High School student athletes, but I came across an article that concerned me a little bit.  It is, however, an article about the University of Arizona and the Graduation Rates that they have with regard to their student athletes.  The reason that I chose to go with the article is the connection I want to make between the way schools emphasize certain sports and the way it could negatively affect the psyche of a High School athlete.

            In the article the NCAA was conducting studies around the nation to see what the national graduating average was for Division I athletes.  They found that 76% of the athletes in Division I football graduated from college.  This is great, but for Arizona they had been falling behind that average a little bit.  The fact that they may be falling behind a little from the national average is not the disconcerting part for me though.  It is the part that explains why they are dipping that is a red flag.


The first glimpse of Graduation Success Rate data shows eight UA teams with a graduation rate greater than 75 percent, but the two highest-profile and money-generating sports — men’s basketball and football — are at 42 and 44 percent respectively.


The reason this bothers me so much is the message this sends to High School students.  If these schools make the most money from the athletes that seem to be the least educated, or who care the least, then all they have to do is be good enough to play at a level that will get them the money.  If they are, then there is no need for them to major in anything and they can just pick up the standby “general studies” tag and coast through college with no effort at all.

            Teenagers do not need this type of example.  Students in High School make bad decisions without help all the time.  They don’t need a University, an institution that is supposed to guide them through their first steps in the real world, to provide this type of patter.  Their values can become money driven and they forget about what is truly rewarding.

Posted by: coachk97 | December 2, 2008

Winning isn’t even in the top 10

I recently found an article on EBSCO that conducted a study of student athletes and what values they have learned by playing sports.  Various age groups were tested and they kept track of the gender of those who were being surveyed.  The survey tested what values the students exhibited by asking them a series of questions and attaching a value to each possible answer.  For example,


3. I am concerned about the people  
around me in my sport. – is attached to Compassion


Attached to the questions were 18 possible values and when surveys were tallied those who did the study listed these values in terms of importance (1-most important, 18-least important).  Here are the results,


1. Being fair

2. Companionship

3. Compassion

4. Conformity

5. Conscientious

6. Contract Maintenance

7. Enjoyment

8. Good game

9. Health/fitness

10. Obedience

11. Personal achievement

12. Public image

13. Self-actualization

14. Showing skill

15. Sportsmanship

16. Team cohesion

17. Tolerance

18. Winning


There are some very encouraging ratings in this list, but there are also some very discouraging ratings.  I’ll start with the encouraging part; winning is dead last.  Many coaches say that winning is not what is important, but it is, in fact, some of these other values that should take precedent.  Now, to the discouraging aspect; tolerance, sportsmanship, and team cohesion are all below public image and conformity.  This article is very interesting because I feel that as a coach and teacher I would want to instill my students and players with a set of values that allow them to be productive and successful citizens.

Posted by: coachk97 | December 2, 2008

A Good Decision

Finally a player with the good sense to have a fall back plan!  Zeke Marshall is a young man who has been labeled one of the best basketball players in the nation and instead of going to a big school who sent “letters” that “mostly talked up teams’ gaudy numbers, as in win-loss records, championships and frequency of televised games” he decided he would go to a school that had a good educational program for the field he wanted to pursue.


Marshall said he signed a national letter of intent with the University of Akron on Wednesday because of its basketball team and because the school touted a major in computer information systems that he will pursue. Rated a top-40 prospect and, he bucked the trend that sees highly touted players pick power schools by signing with the Mid-American Conference school.

Two other notable defections from the power-school route: Rashanti Harris, a 6-8 post player at The Patterson School in Lenoir, N.C., and Aaric Murray, a 6-10 center at Glen Mills in Concordville, Pa. Harris confirmed early Wednesday he was signing with Georgia State of the Colonial Athletic Association, and Murray signed with La Salle of the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Similarly, top-10 prospect DeMarcus Cousins, a 6-9 forward at Mobile (Ala.) LeFlore High, has publicly committed to Alabama at Birmingham but has not yet signed.”


In a world of greedy CEO’s and other high profile money grabbers students are beginning to realize that a pro career in any sport comes at a high risk and getting a good education has no risk at all; in fact there is no downside at all (except maybe debt). 

This was just a refreshing story for me because or the reality these students checked in to.  What these players realized was that if they are truly good enough to play in the NBA they are going to get there no matter where they go to school, so they better get the best customized education for their specialty because they are one injury away from having to use the back-up plan.


Posted by: coachk97 | October 21, 2008

Trying to Fix the Drop Out Rate in Michigan

      An article titled “Granholm calls for action on dropout rate” caught my eye today when trying to find more articles on student athletes in the community.  I began reading and decided that I would go in a different direction than normal with this post.  The reason being that I had been hearing about the dropout rate in Michigan, but had never really looked for, or heard of a number associated with that rate. 

      The article says that the National numbers put Michigan’s dropout rate at %25, and that Michigans own numbers have it at %15.  Whoa.  These numbers are hard to fathom for me.  Coming from a small rural town I can only recall one, maybe two dropouts that I new of in my school district.  Now, that doesn’t mean there were not more, but most kids that couldn’t cut it in the High School had an alternative High School down the road where they could continue, and receive a diploma.  The fact that the number for the state of Michigan is somewhere between %15 and %25 is astonishing.  Don’t kids, parents, and teachers realize the situation we are in right now?  Economically speaking Michigan does not have a whole lot to offer a High School dropout in the job department.  Maybe the kids have pressure to drop out and get a job at McDonald’s or some other fast food establishment to help out their family because of the hard economic times. 

      One things is for sure, though, things will turn around eventually, and when they do, where are these kids going to be?  If something to change the school systems is not done (Granholm is trying to change things by getting a conference together) then maybe the economy won’t turn around.  Michigan will have less and less to offer the businesses that set up stakes in our economic market.  If we have less to offer, they have less to offer, and here we sit.

Original Article:

Granholm calls for action on dropout rate

Lori Higgins

Posted by: coachk97 | October 21, 2008

Great Follow Up to Mount Vernon Schools

       Since I posted the blog about budget cuts in schools there has been a follow up article written about how the school in Mount Vernon, N.Y. is doing.  As the previous article stated Mount Vernon had cut all $1.1 million dollars that went to their athletic program.  This new article talks about how the community is doing with the raising of funds to get their sports teams back on track. 

       In four months the Mount Vernon Community has raised $750,000 to keep 20 sports programs afloat.  The whole reason I think that this is such a great follow, though, is how they have been able to do it.  The article states that at a recent sporting event against Mount Vernon’s huge rivals the,

New Rochelle Huguenots donated $800 from ticket and raffle sales to keep the Mount Vernon Knights on the playing field.

      This isn’t a huge amount of money in the grand scheme of things, but it shows how important people feel sports are to kids in a community.  This isn’t the greatest story of how they received funds, however, the article gives a huge paragraph on different stories from different people and how they helped out,

A Mamaroneck couple who married this month requested that their wedding guests donate to Mount Vernon instead of sending crystal and china, raising $10,000 so far. A boy in Pelham passed along $2,500 in gifts from his bar mitzvah. On Main Street in Tuckahoe, a designer boutique, Verano, will contribute about $500 from its sales this week. And a 9-year-old boy from Rye donated his $30 allowance, inspiring his parents to write their own check for $2,000.

       The article even stated earlier that the school had received money from celebrities like Denzel Washington and Ben Gordon (Chicago Bulls).  This is just amazing to me.  When I wrote the first blog I never thought that people would go this far to save a sports program.  Even I, as a coach, didn’t believe they had much of a shot and that is why I originally wrote it.  Now it has turned from a tragic story into a heartwarming one because of the recognition of how important athletics can be in a community.

Original Article:

To Keep Mount Vernon’s High School Sports Alive, Even Rivals Contribute Money

Winnie Hu




Posted by: coachk97 | October 21, 2008

Cultural Mobility Lecture By Stephen Greenblatt

      Though, Mr. Greenblatt spent time on a variety of issues dealing with Cultual Mobility in his lecture Wednesday night (Sept. 24), I will be writing mostly about his idea of creating Shakespeare texts for a new generation.  When I was in High School this is all I could think about when learning Shakespeare, “Why can’t I understand this?” I remember thinking.  Then we would watch a movie or a couple of movies to get the meaning and the brilliance of it all. 

      On the surface this seems like a brilliant idea because it may get every kid interested in Shakespeare, however, I feel that it takes a lot away from the work that Shakespeare put into his plays.  It would be nice for kids to read both, I suppose, but when teachers add in the movies to watch and all that it almost becomes a seperate course.  Many schools, in fact, have a seperate course and then are able to use all forms of media to get students to appreciate Shakespeare. 

       What about the kids who have no interest in signing up for a class like that, like me in High School?  I thought Shakespeare was the lamest dude around, yet all these teachers loved him and I just didn’t get it.  In fact, I didn’t get it until I took a British Literature course and learned the history of Shakespeare himself.  Being able to learn about the man and not just the writing helped me realize how truly great his plays were.  Using Iambic Pentameter throughout a massive play, making it “real” with not much rhyming, but still enough rhythm to make it read like poetry.  These things took work and more than that they took a mind that could process all this information and make it work.  Maybe I still didn’t enjoy his plays as much as everyone else, but at least now I appreciated them.  Teachers need to get their students to appreciate an author and the material before the students can understand why it is being taught.  So before we jump the gun and want to re-invent Shakespeare it is important to give him another shot, so we don’t water down his genius.

Posted by: coachk97 | September 23, 2008

Lack of Funding cancels Athletic Season

It is a sad day when the economy has gotten so bad that the only thing left to cut back on in a school’s budget is the athletic program.  The fact of the matter is athletic programs and other after school activities (drama, band etc…) have the unique capability of keeping kids out of trouble after school lets out.  It’s an old cliché, I know, but it is true.  Now, I am not naïve enough to think that it keeps kids out of trouble altogether.  Many of the kids that I played sports with were into drugs, drinking, stealing, and other varies things I didn’t care to ask about.  However, for those two-three hours of practice or game time we were doing something productive.  Athletics and other after school programs teach young kids about the importance of teamwork, cooperation, respect, work ethic, and the list can go on.  Kids learn how to make and achieve goals, they learn about adversity, and how to rise above it making something positive out of a negative.

            So many life lessons are in those hours put in after school that the effects are incalculable.  That is why I say that I cringe when I see that in Mount Vernon, York kids are getting this stripped from them.  I more than cringe, I feel like a little bit of my heart leaves, going out to these kids who may be in and out of gangs, or have an abusive parent, or a neglectful parent, and the only way to get positive attention is through athletics or drama.     

            Fortunately, for the kids in Mount Vernon, their parents aren’t going down without a fight.  They have raised $334,000 of the $1.1 million that they need in the budget to run all the sports.  If these programs weren’t so crucial to the fabric of this community I feel like the parents and kids would not put this type of effort into making it work.  It is a pipe dream to think that all these kids feel like if they miss out on High School sports they won’t make it to the pros, it just doesn’t happen for ninety-percent of kids who play High School sports.  They are doing it because they feel lost without those connections and lessons they learn on the field or court.  I know I would be utterly and helplessly lost.


Hu, Winnie. For Many Student Athletes, Game Over. July 28, 2008.

Posted by: coachk97 | September 7, 2008

What should have been the opening post

After misunderstanding what the opening post was supposed to be about I thought I would go back and we introduce my blog.

The topics that I will discuss on my blog are going to surround student atheletes in High School.  It has been my experience that some schools will emphasize the athelete before the student, which is very disheartening, however I will be looking for articles where atheletes are making positive impacts as students first.  Whether they are helping out as a mentor to younger students or as a tutor to struggling ones an athelete should always have a positive effect within his/her school, not just outside it on the field, and not a negative impact on other students lives. The sources I will be using are as follows; Google Reader, New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, BBC News, EBSCO, and

As a coach I have seen it go both ways.  Some of the best atheletes have either a negative impact on the community or no impact at all.  I am hoping that within the school that I am coaching for I can get a program started for the atheletes there that will facilitate a positive impact.  Something like a mentoring program or something where the atheletes can take ownership of the community.  I think this will create a sense of pride within the town I am from and hopefully it will spread throughout the school and other students will see what we are getting out of it and want to be part of what is going on.  I want students and athletes to understand the responsibility they have as humans to have a positive impact on other people and to experience the satisfaction that comes with impacting another person in a way that makes that person’s life better.

So, to wrap it up, my articles will focus on the student athelete and the type of effects they should be having within a community.

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