The NY Times is reporting that the NCAA is no longer accepting transcripts from 4 high schools, including Luther Christian Academy in Philadelphia. Some of the key factoids about Luther Christian from the article:
- The basketball coach, Daryl Schofield, is also the only teacher.
- Four students told the NCAA that they are not required to attend class.
- Schofield bragged that the school is adding a library next year (so, up until now, they did not have one).
- The NY Times paraphrases Schofield saying that most of the students have already graduated high school, but “need another year of exposure as players.”
- To come into compliance with the NCAA, Schofield – again, the basketball coach and only teacher – said that he’s planning to attend a conference on Christian education.
This isn’t the only basketball team-disguised-as-a-school that calls itself “Christian.” I’m also reminded of incidents from the past couple of years in which “Christian” high schools used over-age football players in order to win games against rivals.
Are these schools part of a trend of Christians breaking rules and compromising students’ education for the sake of sports success, or is it more of a general societal trend? Does it have anything to do with the idolization of Christian athletes as role models for the faith?
IMHO, Christians need to develop a theology of sports – I’m completely serious about this – that unpacks the meaning of sports and competition within the Christian life. This is an opinion I’ve had for a while. Sports is a HUGE factor in American culture, but there are rarely sermons that address sports as more than a metaphor or example of some other point. Without a theology of sports, which puts sports in the proper perspective and explore how they can be a fruitful part of a Christian’s life, it’s so easy for their importance to become overblown.