The nation is still facing tough financial times, a fact that is manifesting itself throughout all different stratas of society. Now that crunch has trickled down in a very bottom line way to high school sports in New York state, where seasons in all sports will be shrunk for a third consecutive year in a brash attempt to save much needed funding for other state priorities.
According to the Associated Press, cuts are being made across all different high school sports, with the severity depending on the length of traditional sports seasons in each respective sport. The forthcoming baseball season will cut four games out of the traditional regular season slate, decreasing the 24-game slate to 20. Football teams will also be forced to cut at least one game, with some areas forced to cut a second, decreasing the season schedule from 10 to 8.
A handful of vocal critics have complained that the cuts unfairly target student athletes, and those critics have a point. Similar scheduling cuts have yet to be made to competitive fine arts programs like marching band or concert orchestra, though those programs have smaller total memberships than the athletic departments which are affected by the passed cutbacks.
As hard as it is to stomach significant cutbacks to the budget for student athletics, the bottom line savings from such a measure are incredibly stark. Projections estimate the cuts could save New York some $10 million.
Do the massive savings mean that the Empire state's shrinking sports initiative is fair? Hardly. Yet it may be what's needed to keep a desperate state from sinking even deeper into red water it is struggling to keep above.