LAUSD statistics link athletics, higher academic performance

LAUSD statistics link athletics, higher academic performance

Published Jun. 8, 2012 4:19 p.m. ET

New statistics from the Los Angeles Unified School District, given to the City Section athletics office, indicate that participating in high school sports can have a huge effect on academic performance.

"What was proven is that students in our schools who participate in athletics attend school significantly more often, have higher GPA's and score higher on the CST's in both English and Math, when compared to the rest of the student body," according to a memo sent to LAUSD schools by Barbara Fiege, the commissioner of athletics.

There are approximately 35,000 students in the LAUSD who are on athletic teams, and they attended school 21 more days than non-athletes during the 2010-11 school year, Fiege said.

Athletes also achieved between .55 and .74 higher grade-point averages than non-athletes, she said.

Fiege said the numbers "prove what has generally been assumed, that participation in high school athletics, on average, positively enhances the student's academic progress in comparison with the rest of the student body.

"I believe that a large part of this is due to the intervention and guidance provided daily by qualified coaches, who understand the relationship between academic and athletic success."

--Eric Sondheimer