Sunday, March 8, 2009

Athletics Under Attack

Our spiritual founder Roy Hobbs came down from the heavens and demanded that Icehouse start our humble expirement. He also gave him various rules, one of which was "no POLFLAWARS." (no politics)

But you know what Roy? Rules are made to be broken.

North Carolina State Senator Charlie Albertson (Democrat, but you know what, dumb ass is a bi-partisan thing) wants to ban sports in schools which half of the students perform under the 50th percentile in either state standardized tests, or end of cousre exams. (Read all of it's glory here)

Now, On the surface, something inside of all of us says, "Hey this is a good thing...Education is important." And yeah, I agree, in fact I'm totally balls deep for education, but this bill reaks of Summers Eve.

Let's break this mother down:

1. Albertson is suggesting the use of criterion-referenced tests.
Criterion-referenced tests are assessments that reveal a students performance relative to their peers'. These tests will place students in a certain percentile range, meaning there will be a 99th percentile and a 1st percentile. Here's the problem. Lets say you are applying to Harvard and scored a 1200 combined on the SAT. (old scoring method) A fine score to say the least, however, relative to Harvard's incoming class you would most likely be in the 1st percentile, meaning 99% of Harvard's freshman class scored better than you. Essentially these tests don't measure actual achievement, they simply measure a students rank. If you really want to do this why not use a Norm-referenced test? You know, something that assesses actual achievement? This may seem like a small issue, but it represents the fact that most legislators are comepletely ignorant towards education. I won't go into all the other testing issues, so let's just leave this in the stupid category.

2. Albertson does not want to punish athletes.
"We certainly want our kids to keep playing sports because we know how important that is, but we need to remember the first thing about a school is to be able to learn to read and write and do math,"

(Cough) Bullshit (Cough)

Albertson fails to recognize a simple rule implemented by every state. IN ORDER TO COMPETE IN INTERSCHOLASTIC COMPETITION STUDENT ATHLETES MUST MEET A MINIMUM GRADE REQUIREMENT. So yes Albertson, you are punishing athletes, because you are including an entire school in your requirements. So basically you are setting up a hypothetical situation where an entire basketball team could have 4.0's yet they would not be allowed to compete because their classmates finished in the bottom 50 percentile in standardized tests. Excellent logic, let's take a good rule that encourages academic achievement in athletics, and take a flamethrower to it....Awesome.

(FYI, go ahead and Google scholar/JSTOR/ERIC "academic achievement athletics")

3. Just Athletics.

When I initially read this I thought it included all extra-curricular activities. (Which still doesn't make sense) But I was wrong. No, Albertson simply wants to suspend athletics. This is really what chaps my ass, and why I feel athletics are under attack. First thing, lets just assume that Albertson is thinking rationally. If he is, I'd wager that he feels the extra time commitment to athletics dminishes academic achievement. Now lets go into fairy land and assume this is true. Now, at this point what is the fucking difference between Drama Club and Soccer? Yearbook and Basketball? Band and Football?

Oh I get it, those other activities have "good kids."

Fuck that noise.

In my personal experience, I've seen athletics(and extra-curriculars in general) have a significant impact on kids. I've seen some that work hard in school in hopes of a scholarship, and I've seen others who don't drop out simply because they want to play ball. Finally, I've seen athletes in struggling schools who are honor students.

I think my big issue with this is the fact that it involves non-athletes in the decision. Meaning, we have Johhny Slacker walking around pulling ABACADABA's on these tests. He could give two shits about the softball team. But Albertson says that if too many Johnny's F up, then you better take that fast pitch elsewhere.

If you really want more academic expectations on student athletes, we can do that, but let's use a better standard and apply it on an individual level.


  1. If you like program elitism, just wait until the next CFB top 10 preview.