TCSS presents athletic program demographics at each school

Published 4:37 pm Friday, February 21, 2020

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Chip Medders, athletic director for the Troup County School System, presented different numbers at Tuesday’s school system work session, showing the demographics of each school’s athletic programs.

Medders said he and each school’s athletic director have been trying to increase female participation in athletics, which is about a third of male involvement.

At the school system’s three high schools, 66 percent of athletes are male and 34 percent are female. At the middle school level, 72 percent of athletes are male and 28 percent are female.

A majority of high school athletes, 51 percent, are white, while 39 percent are black. That number flips in middle school, as the majority of TCSS middle school athletes are black (56 percent). Thirty-seven percent are white.

Medders also presented discipline data for athletes, which showed that students involved in middle school athletics make up around one-fifth or less of all referrals and suspensions.

The numbers rose a bit at the high school level, with athletes responsible for 30 percent of out-of-school suspensions and 27 percent of in-school suspensions.

Medders thanked his coaches for the countless hours they spend with students despite the low pay.

“They all want to coach until they see it’s about a 70-hour a week job,” Medders said. “And that’s what of our coaches do. I did the math one time, and I think it’s about $0.50 an hour. So just let that sink in for a little bit.”

He also asked each high school athletic director to provide numbers showing how many students received an athletic scholarship to play sports in college, regardless of level.

Throughout the past three years, there are 121 total students from LaGrange (51), Callaway (39) and Troup (31) who received athletic scholarships, with those colleges ranging from smaller colleges to the University of Alabama and Auburn University.

Medders said 93 percent of TCSS students who play high school sports do not play sports in college, but he said they teach much more than just how to play a game.

“You think about what sports offer students, and you all that have played sports, the first thing I think about is teamwork,” Medders said. “Now, you apply that to the real world. We all work with people. Well, that’s what sports are teaching our kids, how to work with people and how to handle adversity. When things don’t go your way, how are you going to respond to things?”

Medders said later this year a survey will be given to all fifth through eleventh graders to find out what their athletic interests are.

“We want to find out what their interests are. What sports could we add?” Medders said. “Maybe it’s a sport we need to take away. We’re not 100 percent sure yet, but I think we’re going to find some intriguing data, some possibilities of adding some sports to make some of these data points draw closer together.”