Travel Teams Killing Youth Sports

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Latino Athlete
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Published on 12 Nov 2018 / In Original

Latinos and poorest households are getting left behind in Youth Sports.

Youth sports is a $17 billion industry, which is larger then Major League Baseball and about the same size as the NFL.

Kids ages 6 to 12 who play a team sport consistently declined from 41.5 percent in 2011 to 37 percent in 2017, according to a recent report from the Aspen Institute.

Since 2008, youth participation has lowered across baseball, basketball, football, and soccer. Baseball is down about 20 percent.

Among richer families, participation is actually rising. 34 percent of children from families earning less than $25,000 played a team sport in 2017, versus 69 percent from homes earning more than $100,000.

The decline of youth sports participation has become a phenomenon that affects American childhood.

Many travel programs have even scheduled games outside the US in countries like Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

When these kids move to the travel teams they leave behind drained local leagues with fewer players, fewer involved parents, and fewer resources.

Well-off parents dedicate so much time and money to kids’ sports partly because of the college system

In the 1990s, colleges distributed about $250 million a year in full and partial scholarships to student athletes. Today that figure has grown to more than $3 billion.

Kids from the inner city and poor families are the most affected.

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