N.C. study finds correlation between winning and money

July 29, 2015 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
A North Carolina newspaper claims a study of the state’s high school sports champions found a direct correlation between money and winning.

Football fieldThe News & Observer reviewed state champions from 2001-02 to 2012-13. The newspaper reported that the results show the percentage of students receiving free or reduced price meals help to predict success in the state’s two largest classifications.

The study found that:

  • 557 state titles were won by schools with less than 40 percent free and reduced lunches.
  • 112 state titles were won by schools with more than 60 percent free and reduced lunches.
  • 10 state titles were won by schools with more than 80 percent free and reduced lunches.

Sports where parents typically spend large sums of money on travel and private coaches — swimming, golf, tennis — favored wealthier schools by a larger margin. There wasn’t much disparity in track, basketball and football.

From the article:

Bob Gardner, executive director of the Indianapolis-based National Federation of State High School Associations, says the gap between the haves and have-nots is spreading to sports such as volleyball, baseball, lacrosse, softball and soccer.

“There is no question that more and more students in more and more sports are specializing, and there are costs involved with that,” Gardner said. “We have long known there are advantages in sports like golf, tennis and swimming, but we are seeing that in other sports now.”

Gardner says the correlation between wealth and winning is a concern. “Making sure that high school athletics success doesn’t become something only for the elite is a national topic,” he said.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association this fall will begin providing additional funds to the most needy schools, according to the article.

The NCHSAA will return 60 percent of the interest income on its General Association Investment account to the schools using a formula to determine what percentage of the pot each school will get. The formula looks at the poverty levels in the county school systems, the free and reduced-price meal rate at the schools, and the number of varsity sports the school fields.

The interest income will vary from year to year according to returns, but it is expected to provide at least $150,000 per year to be shared by the association’s 402 schools.

Click here to read the complete article from the News & Observer.

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