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CHRIS FOSTER

No Trick to Funding Athletics

February 07, 1995|CHRIS FOSTER

Today, class, a little economics.

Let's begin with something easy. Some corollaries. Pencils ready?

Point A, the high school basketball team.

Point B, the high school athletic department.

If the basketball team needs basketballs, all it has to do is go to the athletic department. Simple.

Now, draw a straight line between Point A and Point B.

Oops, there's the football team, the girls' volleyball team, the soccer team. Then there's water polo, badminton, wrestling . . .

OK, toss that out.

Let's try again. Pencils ready?

Point A, the high school athletic department.

Point B, the high school.

Draw a straight line.

Oh yeah, there's, band, pep squad, student government, student newspaper. Wait, erase that last one.

Then there's math books, science books, history books, etc. Oh, don't forget chalk, paper, pencils . . .

It doesn't seem to work.

Toss that out.

Again. Pencils ready?

Point A, the high school

Point B, the school district.

Draw a straight line.

Oh, don't forgot the district's other high school. Not to mention the junior highs and the elementary schools.

Sorry, the light at the end of the tunnel was an oncoming train.

Toss that out.

Pencils ready?

Point A, the school district.

Point B, the State Department of Education.

Draw a straight line.

Whoops, there are those other school districts, 15 in Orange County alone.

Forget it. Not even Polly's makes pies big enough.

Toss that out.

Back to those basketballs.

Maybe the answer can be found in a word problem.

OK, Johnny wants to play basketball. But the basketball team doesn't have money to buy basketballs. So Johnny's parents fork over an athletic fee. Hey, that works.

Wait. What if Johnny's parents are barely getting by and can't afford to let him play basketball?

That's all right, we'll just find other after-school activities for Johnny.

Television. Canasta. And, for a little fresh air, there's those older boys, who hang out on the corner. Don't they have a little club? Johnny can play with them.

Well, maybe that's not such a good idea.

Guess he should play basketball, But how?

Hmmm, basketballs, basketballs.

Got it, a barter system. We'll get the All-American Basketball Corp. to donate basketballs so Johnny can play. OK, so maybe the team will have to wear All-American Basketball Corp. patches on their uniforms. A small price to pay. And, of course, the only basketballs they can use are All-American basketballs. It still works.

Oh-oh, almost forgot. The All-American Basketball Corp. only wants to be associated with All-American-type basketball teams. In other words, teams that win. Not everyone can win, so not everyone will get All-American basketballs.

Scratch that idea.

OK, this is a bit radical. I'll whisper it, so as not to upset you all--(taxes).

It used to be the state poured a lot of revenue into school needs, including revenue for basketballs.

Follow this line:

Point A, schools need; Point B, society provides.

If schools are better, society is better. Nutty, huh?

Now draw that straight line and, remember, people who spend more on prisons than education will end up spending even more on prisons.

Let's buy some basketballs.

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