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High School and Club teams: the blurry line

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Cadet, Dec 6, 2006.

  1. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    No surprise that club teams are or are becoming more important that high school teams in many sports.

    But club activity used to be limited to the offseason, or schools would have a rule that you can't do both at the same time. Apparently that way of thinking has died out.

    In the fall it was a group of parents who pressured to have a high school soccer game rescheduled so the kids who played club could go to a "prestigious" tournament. Had the HS game not been changed, the bench would have been empty. I announced the game change but let the reasoning slide.

    I also had games where players missed to participate in a marching band or ROTC competition. If the kid had missed for injury or illness, I'd mention it, but how do I explain why a certain starter didn't play without making the kids look like uncommitted losers?

    Today I was notified that several key swimmers will not be competing in this weekend's HS meet, opting instead to swim in a club meet. How do I address that in my event coverage of the HS meet? Do I give the club event results the same billing as the HS event results?

    And why are schools letting kids (and parents) get away with this crap? How hard is it to say if you do one, you can't do the other during season?
  2. Screwball

    Screwball Member

    Hi Cadet,

    If the meet is important enough to cover, then it's important enough to mention why the results are skewed. The HS coach could provide you with an on-the-record answer as to why the top swimmers are not there -- perhaps a gracious answer, perhaps not.

    As to the fall event, I would have called the coach or AD of the opposing school for their response to the rescheduling. Why did they agree? Maybe some of their own kids are in a similar situation, so they don't mind. Or maybe the rescheduling was inconvenient for them, and they don't mind saying so. Did they have to agree? Would the school have had to forfeit otherwise? If this is a league game--and even if it isn't--what are the league rules about this?

    And why are schools letting the kids get away with it? College coaches in some sports appear to have brainwashed parents into thinking that club sports are the only way to a scholarship. I doubt college coaches scout too many high school soccer games or swim meets any more. So the high school coach has to decide: Do I want Johnny or Jenny Stud for half the games, or none at all?
  3. NatureBoy

    NatureBoy Member

    When I was on preps, we treated high school and club teams separately. Preps went under the high school banner, while club went under the youth sports banner. At least in my neck of the woods, you had six different teams playing in six different "national" tournaments, all claiming to be as prestigious or more prestigious than the others. If you know one is more important, you should play it up that way. We weren't always sure, so we just waited for the coaches to send in the info and we'd post it in the youth section. But youth sports did not have a daily presence in our paper. High school sports did.

    As for reporting the absence, I agree that if it's that big a meet, you have every reason to mention it, even if it's just a couple of sentences.
  4. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    It's become pretty clear, at least as far as swimming goes -- if a HS coach forces a swimmer to choose between the HS team and the club team, the HS team is not going to come out the winner.
  5. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    Of course you should. They try just as hard as the varsity athletes. ;D
  6. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Thanks ;D

    To clarify a little bit, I don't have a separate youth sports section. I'm in BFE and the HS/club sports are the only game in town. HS events are the priority, but a lot of love is shown to club stuff if the kids are HS age.
  7. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Fuck the club sports.... if you cover every club team and every sport, you wont have the man power.
    And hell yeah, mention why they are missing. Dont have to mention names, but you say that several swimmers from Podunk High opted to swim for their club team...
  8. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Club sports are a monster well on the way to completely cannibalizing high school sports. By all means mention it when HS players bail out on their high school teams to play in club games. And you absolutely SHOULD name names (make 100% sure you're right, of course).
  9. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    1). In Massachusetts, there's something called the "bona-fide team member rule" that states that a kid cannot miss a high school team practice or game to attend a non-school practice or competition. As is the case with everything, there are exceptions.
    2). Every once in a while, I'll write a feature on an athlete who only competes in club sports if they're signing for a Division I college or something like that, but I only do it during downtime in the high school schedule. I did one on a swimmer who signed with Villanova this week.
    3). A few years ago in a 40-minute phone call with a swimming parent who was upset about the high school team's coverage (the coach was never the easiest guy to reach, so there were more than a few weeks when I couldn't get anything.) she said that college coaches look at the newspaper stories and it was write-ups of the school team's meets in another paper that got the kid into college.
    I didn't have the heart to tell her that not only don't college coaches recruit from newspaper clippings, they also don't give a rat's ass about high school swimming.
  10. The local HS swim team here should have been stacked this year, but four of the kids opted to swim club instead, and now they'll probably suck. Not sure what that's worth, but whatever ...
  11. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    There have been some major club/HS team conflicts in NJ for a number of years. Our paper did a major piece on it a few years back and we've had a number of issues arise since then:
    A hockey goalie skipped his team's State tournament game to play for his club team. Team won without him, back-up started next game as well (State semifinal I believe) and lost.
    Volleyball player -- a team captain -- asked coach if she could skip a County tournament game to go to a fall softball tournament (since she thought she had a better chance at softball scholarship). Coach told her to be on the bus for the game or turn in her uni. Parents (after calling us to bitch about the coach) complained to school board, which reinstated the kid but allowed the coach to strip her of captaincy. Coach also decided to bench the kid for the rest of the season.
  12. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    It's kind of a strange situation around here in hockey. For years, public high schools have complained about losing some of their best players to Catholic schools. Now the Catholics are upset about losing kids to junior hockey.
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