Thursday, February 12, 2015

The corruption of high school sports

Two paragraphs from a long article about Deion Sanders' charter school:

Everything that could be said about the absurdity of high school sports in Texas already has been. It's a cesspool, and Dallas is no exception. For years, the people responsible for policing the city's athletics turned a blind eye to obvious recruiting violations. Then, last March, a talented 18-year-old basketball player named Troy Causey was beaten to death on the sidewalk in front of his home. A few nights after his murder, Causey's grief-stricken mother told a TV reporter that her son lived where he did because he'd been recruited to play ball. His murder, in other words, wouldn't have happened were it not for an illegal intervention from men who knew better. Now a kid was dead and blind eyes would no longer do. Within three months, 15 coaches and administrators were fired, and the boy allegedly responsible for Causey's death was behind bars.


That money is coming from the government, and oversight of where it goes and how it's used is minimal. And Perry is right when he claims cash attracts representatives of the worst constituencies in American life. The hedge fund manager who says charter schools are the "most appealing sector" of his billion-dollar portfolio. The exiled Turkish imam who runs the largest network of charters in America, and whose offices were recently raided by the FBI after his company was caught handing out a series of lucrative no-bid construction contracts. Of the six states that ban for-profit charters, three are the best performing in the country; Texas, by contrast, has the highest percentage of for-profit charter schools in the nation, and, maybe unsurprisingly, some of the worst-performing too.