EDITOR’S NOTE: In the run-up to the May 11 school bond election, the San Marcos Mercury has invited a cross-section of community members to weigh in on the proposed $77 million capital improvement program, which include $18.4 million for a football and “multi-purpose” stadium and $13.6 million for a student activity complex to serve athletic and extracurricular programs. Early voting started today, April 29, and runs through Tuesday, May 7.
By law, school district employees cannot advocate for or against bond propositions. In this guest commentary, athletics director Mark Soto examines the connection between athletic achievement and success in other fields.
COMMENTARY by MARK SOTO
How does participating in athletics correspond to academic, social and economic achievement among students? Causation is difficult to prove but there is ample evidence of correlation. In my own experience, the link is undeniable.
Tesults were released last month by the professional journal Education Week of a study conducted in Ohio by research authors Jay P. Greene and Daniel H. Bowen over a five-year period. They found that “a school’s commitment to athletics is positively related to academic success,” and they quote many supportive figures regarding graduation rate and increased classroom achievements.
In 2011, Medical News Today reported an international study done in Portugal among school children that found the association between athletics and academics “was stronger for students who played more sports or who participated over a longer period of time, particularly girls.”
Much closer to home, Northside ISD in San Antonio (the fourth largest district in Texas with 100,000 students) recently conducted a comprehensive study. Athletic director Stanley Laing found positive effects on students’ lives both inside and outside the classroom. Taking any group such as band, ROTC, spirit groups, the effect is similar to that of athletics: Kids that are connected outside the classroom are more successful academically.
Borrowing from their study, Northside school officials observed that:
Involvement in athletics provides the extra support and motivation that many students need to stay in school. Character development is a huge part of our San Marcos CISD athletic programs. Traits such a self-discipline, team commitment, and leadership enhances successful student learning in and out of the classroom setting.
And often, the spirit of healthy competition carries over to other areas of success.
SOTO is the San Marcos CISD athletics director and head football coach.Email | Print