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Should high school sports be televised nationally?

May 22, 2008

A seemingly innocuous article in today’s Orlando Sentinel peaked my interest this morning, as I think it’s indicative of a larger and frankly, disconcerting trend.

The article said an Orlando area high school, one who is a favorite to win the Florida 6A state title in football, would travel to play a top school in Mississippi and that the game might possibly be featured on ESPNU.

This would not be the first time a high school game has been televised on any of ESPN’s several networks. The network televised LeBron James’ high school games, as well as those of Florida Quarterback Tim Tebow and a showdown between Greg Oden and Tyler Hansbrough while the pair attended their respective high schools in Indiana and Missouri.

The increasing adulation of high school kids, particularly in the recruiting of those athletes to play collegiate athletics, should give a lot of people cause for concern, particularly members of the media.

As an industry, we should stop covering press conferences called by 17-year-olds to announce where they’re going to college and stop nationally televising games that have, at best, a local interest.

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