Letter Writer Nails the Problem With Youth Sports: WAAC and PAAC
By Ken Reed
I often say there’s “too much adult in youth sports.” When adults are heavily involved in youth sports, ego-and-greed based decisions and activities are sure to be part of the environment.
Win-at-all-costs (WAAC) and profit-at-all-costs (PAAC) mentalities and policies are increasingly part of the youth sports landscape, as youth sports entrepreneurs (aka youth sports vultures) are lurking and preying on the dreams of young athletes and their parents. We are seeing more “showcase” tournaments, more travel teams, more year-round club teams, more sport-specific trainers, etc. These trends are pricing out kids in lower socio-economic areas and it’s placing unnecessary — and potentially damaging — physical and mental pressure on young people.
Youth sports vultures are commercializing and professionalizing youth sports for kids as young as eight years old. Is there any wonder that nearly 80% of kids drop out of organized team sports by the age of 13?
I recently came across a letter written by Josh Rovner in the Washington Post that nailed the contemporary youth sports experience. Here’s an excerpt:
“By design, this industry doesn’t serve kids. … Privatizing amateur athletics is wrong — and not only because of the astonishing expenses for its customers. In tournament play, profit and victory are core values. Instead of sprawling venues, we should invest in a sports culture where everyone can play.”
Rovner does a nice job of pulling back the curtain on the youth sports industry.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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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.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
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.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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