Florida County's School Sports Fall Under Gov. Scott's Budget Axe

March 15, 2011 4:00 pm ET — Kate Conway

high school football players

By now, it's well known that Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) is pretty happy to slash state funding for just about everything that helps the people of Florida instead of corporations. The latest sad example of what his cuts have wrought comes out of Duval County, where Scott's budget cuts are forcing public schools to eliminate athletic programs:

No more Friday night football. No more sports of any kind.

That's the harsh reality, according to Duval County School Board Chairman W.C. Gentry. Budget cuts proposed by Gov. Rick Scott make it a virtual certainty that the upcoming school year will be one without sports at any level, he said.

As one school's principal noted, "Athletics is an integral part of scholastics." Indeed, according to a 2002 study, "participating in athletics helps students perform well academically during high school more than any other extracurricular activity." An even more direct impact on students' futures comes with closing the door on college scholarships.

The decision to eliminate sports programs would also take away a student's ability to earn an athletic scholarship in college. This past February, more than 50 athletes from Duval public schools signed letters-of-intent. First Coast High's football team alone had eight athletes sign with colleges.

One former Duval County resident, a Division I college athlete who benefited from high school sports training, told Political Correction he was "between tears and fits of absolute rage" at the news.