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Redshirting: Changing the Game

The growing trend of parents redshirting their children prior to high school athletic competition leaves youth sports torn between ethical values and winning.  

The phenomenon, traditionally used by athletes competing in the NCAA, is now shifting towards kids as early as kindergarten.  This parentinitiated process is a way for a child to gain physical advantages compared to his or her peers, as well as attract the attention of college coaches and recruiters.    

Most organizations and sports programs do not see the practice as enough of a threat to enforce regulations against it. Yet other entities, such as the New Jersey state legislature, are pushing to end redshirting.

“Right now, it’s not [considered] cheating,” New Jersey State Senator Richard Codey (D-Essex) said, “but we know it is. It’s trying to game the system.”  

Despite several gray areas in the bill, many do believe parents should take into consideration all the ramifications of such actions.

“We really need to think about kids’ rights to an open future,” CSUN Kinesiology Professor Doug McLaughlin said. “Some people in our society value sports too much, which causes people to do things that are problematic.” McLaughlin said if parents decide to redshirt their children for sports, they have only a 50-50 chance at best of seeing success after high school.

A Notre Dame University study found that kids who repeat a year of school between kindergarten and sixth grade, are 60 percent less likely to finish high school.

“It’s tough enough to be a teenage boy and have your parents tell you you’re not good enough so we are going to hold you back,” said President of William S. Hart Baseball, Michael Eberle. “The kids are [the] victims at stake.  I’m just not sure that is a positive message.”

Former college football player and current high school football coach Trajuan Briggs said his perspective on the trend has changed through the years.

“As a player on the high school level, I thought it was a bit unfair.  Since this kid is now in my recruiting class, what if he gets the scholarship I was suppose to get?” Briggs said.  “Once I got to college, my outlook on those types of players changed.  It didn’t bother me at all.  I knew I was going to have to compete with 23-year-old juniors as a freshman and rely on my skills.”

As a coach, Briggs has seen the trend occur several times.  

“It goes back to Pop Warner, where kids are being held back by the parents,” Briggs said. “And believe it or not, a lot of high school coaches look for that.  They feel like it is an on field advantage.” 

 

Moderator: Harry Bennett III

Anchor: Ayo Adelaja

Producer: Haley Kramer

Social Media Editors: Valerie Hernandez and Sofia Levin

Reporters: Harry Bennett III, Jarvis Haren, Valerie Hernandez, Haley Kramer, Sofia Levin and Mariah Robinson

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