Before I moved to the South (Yes Florida is the south) I was told there were three sports played there: 1) football 2) spring football 3) off season football. I didn’t believe it until I saw it with my own eyes. When I started helping coach track at my daughter’s high school I asked why the State Track Meet was the first week of May- the sincere and honest answer was so that it would not interfere with spring football practice, needless to say, my jaw dropped. When I asked why, I was given the answer that football brings in the money, at the time the team was terrible and they might have been drawing 1,000 people a game. It cost more to pay the ticket takers and turn on the lights than they were making at the gate.
On Monday football was crowned king again:
The Florida High School Athletic Association Board of Directors voted Monday, 9-6, in favor of reducing the number of varsity games – except football – in a season by 20 percent and junior varsity games by 40 percent.
Varsity basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, volleyball and water polo will go from 25 contests in a season to 20; tennis, lacrosse, wrestling will go from 18 to 15; swimming and diving, weightlifting, track and field and cross country will go from 13 to 11; golf will go from 14 to 12; and flag football from 12 to 10. Football and cheerleading will not be affected. The policy will be in effect for two school years, from 2009 to 2011.
There is something seriously wrong with this picture. Why no cuts in Football and Cheerleading? This myth that high school football caries the athletic programs is just that, a myth. What about gender equity? I am not a big fan of law suits, but this one must be challenged. I know we are in very tough economic times, so let everyone share the burden, cut football and cheerleading an equal amount to the other sports. In fact why is cheerleading a varsity sport, make it a club. Does football really need the number of coaches they have? Today’s rising juniors will miss the equivalent of one third of a season in the remainder of their high school career, that is not right. Why do many of the head football coaches not teach classes in season? Get them back teaching that would save a teacher salary. If ever there was a case of misuse of public funds, loss of public trust and gross injustice this is it. This really sets a dangerous precedent.