30Q-2-KICKOFF (No. 26): Roll the dice

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?

Ben Enos

  • Years ago before TV…High School games drew big crowds and it was serious ball…Now in the last five or so years..HS games are again drawing big crowds..several years ago while i was doing an audit in bakersfield…I saw where Clovis West was playing bakersfield…There was a huge crowd on the Bakersfield side and almost nothing on the clovis side…But here comes 10 bus loads of fans..two bus loads for the band and a big Ken worth with the band equipment and a 100 or so cars behind.
    Look how many showed up for the Grant/Folsom game and how about when Monte vista meets San Ramon…Its good yes….but it puts a strain on Education as the pressure is on to win…and most likely there is money changing hands after each game and this will never stop.And TV has glorified high school football and its going to grow…Its created a fan base for each winning team that is also growing…

  • shinguard

    About 1976 big bookie ring was busted in Emeryville…had bets going on High School, College and Pro Sports….Nothing new but the promotion and $$ and TV is starting to change the high school game.

  • FNL680

    Ridiculous is correct. HS sports going national is bad news for everybody, except those who want to make a buck for whatever reason. E11 with Dilfer crying at the end! That’s ridiculous. “Hey Vinnie, who ya got on doze two in Frisco for most yawds?”
    Keepin it local, frankly, some of this stuff/fluff couldn’t hold a candle to “Two Geeks and a Pigskin.” Jump on it Ben N Jimmy!
    5,000 fans in San Ramon at Cal vs DLS last year….that’s Friday Night Lights!

  • Outsider

    5000 fans for a high school game is not that many for some places where football is big. But 5000 at Cal High was incredible. That place was about to explode.