I read a very interesting story on Rivals.com about gambling on high school football, and figured it’d be a good topic for discussion.
So, it goes without saying that gambling on high school sports is ridiculous. I mean, come on. According to the story, this has gone on for some time when it comes to overseas gambling sites. I know we pick games and eternal glory is often bestowed for success at it, but I’m fairly confident our Prep Corner regulars really aren’t setting lines on Friday Night Lights.
That said, I think this story points to the bigger picture. That is, the commercialization of high school football. The article points to the increase in televised games, whether on ESPN, FOX or local affiliates like Comcast. That’s definitely happening. Heck, it’s even gotten my silly-looking mug on the small screen.
In a lot of ways, high school football remains a community affair. Any given Friday night, cities and towns all across the country host games that attract all kinds of friends, family and fans. That’s the part of the game we all think about when we think Friday Night Lights. But more and more, we see cameras, news outlets, recruiting analysts, all kinds of attention being paid to the game.
I’m not saying this is necessarily a problem. If it was, I’m probably more part of the problem than the solution. But high school football is trending toward more and more attention, and it’s only growing as each year goes by. Is that a good thing?
What I do know is that at its heart, high school football is still a means to an end. It’s an extracurricular activity on high school campuses that are designed for the primary purpose to educate young men and women. All the attention that gets paid to the sport is great, but I always try to keep in mind that kids are going to school for just that — going to school.
I’d be curious to hear what you guys think. Is the increasing spotlight on high school football good or bad? Does it take away from education? Does it help it?