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Investigative ideas for covering prep sports

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by carstensm, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. carstensm

    carstensm New Member

    Just curious what topics people have written investigative-wise while covering prep sports. What can be found with budgets, Title IX, kids transferring to play with different schools, etc. What have your papers done?
  2. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    My "bigger" ones (and ones I remember)?
    -Males coaching girls and Females coaching boys
    -why track/field athletes don't wear numbers
    -Moving from 11-man to 8-man football for a pair of coaches
  3. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd New Member

    None of those strike me as "investigative."
  4. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    Did a big story on a 30-year coach getting forced out of a job by some disgruntled parents who had friends on the school committee
    -Broke down a school's attempt to get artifical turf, why it was cost effective and why the taxpayers hated it
    -Last winter wrote a story on area football team - at one of the state's biggest schools - and why it had gone winless the previous three seasons. Ended up getting second in the state awards for that.

    An issue I've always wanted to tackle was kids using dip. Haven't had the time since budget cuts stripped us of resources, but it'd be fun to take down.
  5. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    Well, feel free to share yours then. I'm just throwing out some of the things I have done. It took some investigation. Figured it was worth a mention.
  6. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    Was going to suggest that all-time SportsJournalists.com favorite, "Is cheerleading a sport?", but others came to mind:

    Club vs. high school team, if sports like swimming, gymnastics or soccer have a following.
    Title IX is nice, but with education taking it in the shorts in so many places, how are programs staying afloat?
  7. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    You could also look into these turf fields that popped up everywhere about 10-15 years ago (at least in the Pacific NW)...that's about the lifespan before they need to be replaced. Are schools ready to do that? I know one field in the area is getting pretty worn.
  8. the fop

    the fop Member

    Maybe enterprise would be a better word than investigative. One we did at a metro (and one we shied away from at another) was competitive imbalance between public/parochial schools, and the calls in some quarters for separate state championships for parochials. Don't know if that's an issue where you are.
  9. rpmmutant

    rpmmutant Member

    I have seen a trend at high schools in Los Angeles, the private vs. public school debate. To take it a step further though, there are some private schools that are shutting down some of their sports programs, football in particular, because enrollment is dropping. Some schools are combining to make one team. Some schools get by with 20 some players on the team. Has private school become too expensive for many families? Have public schools become a better option for parents or students? I don't know if this is a trend in other areas, if athletic programs are becoming to expensive to run or if the schools are becoming too expensive for kids to attend, but I definitely see more kids going to public schools these days.
    On a similar note, how has the stipend pay for coaches changed in recent years because of budget cuts and such? I know some schools in LA cut the stipends for assistants, junior varsity and freshman coaches. What other measures have schools districts taken to cut costs in the athletic departments?
  10. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    Ones I've seen done and think every area should do:

    -- Comparison of coaching salaries/duties at schools within a paper's circulation area. In some states, coaches are expected to be teachers too, but schools get around it by giving them an administrative position (also frees them up to get a bigger salary).
    -- The growth of high school football players. One of our former writers did this as an intern for us by looking back at old All-State rosters. Took the weights of the players for the last 50 years and showed the explosion in size.
    -- Public vs. private is always a good thing to tackle if private schools are competing with public schools.
    -- Take census figures on income for areas of your city/circulation area and compare team win percentages, find out if the income of the surrounding area is related to athletic success for the schools there (basically would be trying to quantify if the richer schools have a competitive advantage and what sports they do; there may be a better way to tackle this if you can get income figures for the families of the students at the school).

    Those are just a few off the top of my head.
  11. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    I'd love to see an in-depth look at charter school athletic programs. I think the whole charter school system is a scam to begin with.
  12. Simon

    Simon Active Member

    Chase the money. That's all you have to do. You'll find what you're looking for. I promise.
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