The Business of High School Athletics

Sports are a business. As much as many want to believe that true competition and the opportunity to change lives is the motivation for sporting events, it’s not always the case. There are clear lines drawn between labor and sport in Texas high school athletics. Young men with the highest athletic production have always been valued. While there are multiple avenues of examination, the idea that production on the field guarantees more than social acceptance is one that highly interests me.

Technology plays a major role in the distribution of athlete production. Software like hudl increases the distribution of highlight videos and allows each athlete to market themselves faster than ever before. Hudl, a web based video management system, is used in not only football but basketball as well. One feature of the program is that it tracks stats as well as provides footage to piece together highlight films. Often the game has barely ended, and footage is posted in real time. This immediate return on investment often drives student athletes to perform more. In the same way, athletes have become more of a commodity and therefore suffer from an odd new form of enslavement through their talent. One of the things that is often awarded from their production is a college scholarship. In a time where visual culture and technology seem to dominate our daily lives, they are also the exact methods that guarantee success.

As student athletes find themselves pitted against each other for a set number of scholarships, the coaching staff s charged with networking properly to make sure they are seen in the abundance of film floating around. Technology plays a role in that process as well. Social media like Twitter is often packed with recruitment talk and hudl highlights. The ability to move athletes to the next level also establishes ethos for the coach regardless of his ability on the grass. In this way, athlete production directly impacts his value in the market. While student athletes cannot receive monetary incentives for their performances in their respective sports, they are, nonetheless, a product; one that impacts an entire industry.

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