When it comes to high school sports these days we’re increasingly in an era of “haves and have-nots.” Many states have open enrollment, allowing athletes to transfer to sports powerhouses without penalty. Both public and private schools are being accused of illegal recruiting across the nation. Economic disparity and other factors have resulted in some schools having sophisticated feeder programs while others struggle to get enough kids out to field varsity and junior varsity teams. As a result, competitive imbalance has become a major problem in high school sports.
Traditionally, high school sports divisions have been based on school enrollment. Schools with similar enrollments compete against each other. However, due to a variety of factors, including those cited above, enrollment numbers no longer are enough to determine fair competitive divisions in high school sports. What’s needed is a power ranking system that would allow teams ranked in the bottom of a division for a set period, say three years, to move down a division if they so choose.
Learning how to lose and face adversity is one of the lessons athletics can provide. But getting trampled in virtually every game you play during a season isn’t positive on any level. It’s even worse when a team loses 90 percent of its games over a three-to-five-year period. Perpetual losing leads to unnecessary frustration on the part of everyone involved and a depressing environment that permeates the school and local community.
So, how would this proposed new system work exactly? As an example, if a school finishes in the bottom five of the power rankings (based on win-loss records, margin of victory/defeat, strength of schedule, etc.) within their division for three consecutive seasons, they would be given the option to drop down a division for the following season.
The essence of athletic competition is fair play and testing yourself against those with similar abilities. This proposal would bring us closer to those ideals.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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.
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