Every meeting agenda of the Michigan High School Athletic Association Representative Council opens with the “Ten Basic Beliefs for Interscholastic Athletics in Michigan.” Here’s No. 1:
Interscholastic athletics were begun outside the school day and curriculum and remain there as voluntary, extracurricular programs in which qualifying students earn the privilege of participation.
There are those who prefer to substitute “co-curricular” for “extracurricular.” Their hearts are in the right place. They mean well; but they’re wrong.
Competitive interscholastic athletic programs can be educational without being part of the school’s curriculum. If sponsored by schools and conducted by schools, these programs must be a positive, educational experience. But these programs are outside the academic curriculum, and almost always outside the classroom day; and no student has the right to participate in these programs. It’s a privilege students earn by meeting standards of eligibility and conduct; and often these students have to compete to earn a spot on the team and playing time in contests.
Interscholastic athletic programs are important after-school activities that enrich the lives of participants. No student has the right to participate in these programs, but we are right to fight for the presentation of broad and deep interscholastic athletic programs in our schools.