The Recession is Killing Sports - On All Levels

BlogHer Original Post

This recession is hurting sports on almost every level. We already know that community sports programs lose donations at an alarming rate when things get tight. As parents get desperate to keep their homes little league sports and other extra-curricular activities don't seem so important anymore. Even the public school systems are in big trouble financially.

San Jose's East Side Union High School District has proposed a budget that cuts out all athletic programs to save money.

Can you even imagine high school without sports? All those teenagers with all that energy. For some kids sports scholarships are their best bet for a college education.

For some kids sports are something to do instead of hanging out and smoking weed or joining a gang.

The next level the economy is hurting is college athletics. Unless you are one of those huge universities like Ohio State or The University of Florida that makes a great deal of money from booster programs it seems like a no-brainer to cut back on sports programs instead of academics.

I have not heard many folks excited about higher interest rates because it raises the cost of living for all of us. This could have a double whammy of making the running of a college program more expensive, while significantly shrinking the pool of small donors to athletic departments. Again, only time will tell.

The Coach

Even in smaller schools the knee jerk (and probably most economical) reaction would be to cut back on some of the less well attended sports, like say, women's lacrosse or water polo.

The President of the NCAA, Myles Brand, is even concerned that colleges will use Title IX as a scapegoat for these budget cuts.

...institutions have been using Title IX as a cop-out. The real reason they are cutting sports is to save money. ...simply reinforces what feminists and supporters of women’s sports have been saying for years: usually, it’s the cost of running athletics programs, particularly for larger and more expensive sports, that hurts the chances of other, smaller sports programs succeeding, not offering women equal opportunity to participate in athletics.

Women's Law Project Blog

That could be a huge blow to women's athletics and Title IX in general.

But it isn't as bad for women's sports as this is: The Houston Comets had to shut down completely. The ownership tried to sell the team for months, but there weren't any takers. No we have one less WNBA team. If a city as big as Houston cannot support a professional women's basketball team I can only imagine that it will soon be followed by another franchise.

This story gets even scarier. It isn't just pee wee sports. It isn't just college water polo or the WNBA. Even a perennial money maker like the NFL (God knows they get enough of my money) is in financial trouble. They recently had to lay off 50 people. It doesn't seem like a large number until you realize that the NFL itself only employed 1100 people. That is almost 5% of its workforce. (The players and coaches are all employed by the individual franchises.) NASCAR, the NBA and Major League Baseball have also had to let employees go this year due to the economy.

From the bottom to the top. This recession is really hurting sports.

 

Contributing Editor Sarah also blogs at Sarah and the Goon Squad and Draft Day Suit.

 

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