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No-Cut Rule For School Teams Below Varsity Makes Sense

One Varsity, One JV Model is Outmoded, Needs Reform

Wrong message

It is especially important for teenagers to know that they belong; that they fit in. Cutting tells teenagers that they don't fit in, that they don't belong. This is the wrong message to send during adolescence. As the most prominent of all high school extracurricular activities, athletics continues to confer on its participants the highest levels of status and prestige in our teenage culture. The feeling by athletes that they are special tends to lead to disharmony, the creation of cliques, and to reinforcing the jock culture. The creation of separate classes of athletic "haves" and "have nots" not only promotes elitism, but the jock culture it spawns damages the boys who cannot compete.

A 2001 report to the Surgeon General found that teenagers  "who have weak social ties, that is, who are not involved in conventional social activities and are unpopular at school, are at high risk of becoming violent, as are adolescents with antisocial, delinquent peers." Another recent study found a positive association between playing interscholastic sports and an increase in the number of an athlete's friends who are academically oriented. The study also found that participation in interscholastic sports "significantly increased social ties between students and parents, students and the school, parents and the school, and parents and parents...." Cutting a teenager from an interscholastic sports program denies them these positive benefits.

Starting a downward spiral?

Cutting starts a downward spiral that can make further participation in the sport remote.

  • Those who say that with hard work and effort, a child who is cut from a team has just as much chance as anyone else to make future teams are ignoring reality. Kids cut as freshmen often never try out again.
  • Those children who are cut from sports teams will not exercise as frequently as they would if they were playing sports; they are much more likely to spend their afternoons watching television, becoming obese, and getting into trouble. 
  • Indeed, a 2012 study1 by researchers at Dartmouth found that, compared with other forms of physical activity, participation in team sports has the most consistent inverse relationship with obesity and substantially reduce the risk that a high school student will be overweight or obese.
  • According to a 2010 study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association,2 over a third (34.2%) of high school students are overweight or obese. 
  • According to a February 2006 Gallup Youth Study, only 21 percent of teens claiming to participate in sports or recreation five to six days a week and only 19 percent of our teens participating in vigorous sports or physical activity five to six days a week.
  • It simply makes no sense whatsoever from a public health standpoint to continue a policy that contributes to an overall decline in physical fitness among adolescents and young adults, especially given that, as the Dartmouth study found, adolescents who played on 3 sports teams or more were 27% less likely to be overweight/obese and 39% les likely to be obese compared with adolescents who did not play on any sports teams.