By Ken Reed
A girl accepts a scholarship offer to play soccer for the University of North Carolina when she’s 11 years old.
Two years later, the same girl, Olivia Moultrie, gives up her college eligibility by signing a multiyear endorsement deal with Nike. She begins her pro career at age 13.
Youth sports and the win-at-all-costs (WAAC) and profit-at-all-costs (PAAC) culture in this country has been over-the-top for years. But this could be a new low.
It’s simply a sad case of stolen youth.Print
Moreover, stories like this will encourage adults to get involved in youth sports activities to an even higher degree. The result will be more burnout cases and overuse injuries due to year-round sport specialization.
Moultrie’s parents have been driving her hard since she was 7 years old, when she began intense, soccer-specific training. They started home schooling Olivia when she was in 5th grade so she could spend more time on soccer training.
My heart aches for Olivia Moultrie. I find no joy in her signing a contract with Nike at such a tender age. I hope for the best for her but I will be amazed if she makes it to 20 without burning out or suffering a serious overuse injury.
The whole situation is but one more case of “too much adult in youth sports.”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
- “Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- Ken Reed's Author Page on Amazon
- League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.