A beleaguered Texas school district ditches sports

The move may worsen student attendance, not improve it

A shutout for sports

Michael Zamora/Caller-Times

A school district in southern Texas is doing the unthinkable (if you’re a Texan, that is): it’s eliminating its highly popular athletics program in hopes of preventing an imminent state-mandated closure—the result of an abysmal academics record. Basketball, baseball, track, tennis, and—wait for it—football will be slashed from the district’s curriculum and budget, says Premont superintendent Ernest Singleton, to save money and give students more time for school work. In fact, the Premont Independent School District’s academic standing and student attendance record is so low that the district has started sending a group of school officials to knock on the doors of truant students’ houses. If the situation doesn’t improve, Premont students will be absorbed by another school district—and 90 Premont citizens will be out of work. But the athletics program cancellation could backfire. One 15-year-old student said the ban will make kids want to attend school even less. “Nobody wants to try anymore,” he said.