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Athletics in high schools

12 August 1992


What role do athletics play in the lives of male and female students, the school system, and the community? Previous research has drawn many conclusions of how athletics affect students. Research completed in 1961, concluded that athletics are the most important determinant of male social status. This same research has been duplicated since 1961 and the findings are similar to the original findings. One determinant of social status, though, that has risen dramatically in the past ten years is . the role of brilliant student. Today male high school students most want to be remembered as good athletes and good students. Female high school students most want to be remembered as good students first and good athletes second.

For a period of eight weeks, I observed a high school in the Pacific Northwest. My observations centered around two main themes. First, how did athletics affect the social status of males and females? Second, what were the relationships of student athletes to teachers and other students. During this observation period I observed administrators, teachers, coaches, and students as they went through their daily routines. I also attended two sporting events at the high school.

In my analysis, I compare my findings to those of previous researchers. I also analyze other themes that continued to reappear during my observation period. One theme that continued to reappear was the role of the community in athletics. Hopefully, I am able to add some new insights or revelations into the role of athletics in the lives of high school students.


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