Your Kid’s Not Going Pro

A Youth Sports Blog

Sucking the fat out of the stimulus bill

with 3 comments

I’m not talking about whether too much of the $800 billion or so bill is irresponsible spending that won’t create jobs. I’m talking about the view of the American Heart Association and the National Association of Sport and Physical Education, which both generally support the bill but have trouble with one teensy clause. It’s the one I highlighted the other day:

IMPERMISSIBLE USES OF FUNDS.—No funds received under this section may be used for—
(1) payment of maintenance costs; or
(2) stadiums or other facilities primarily used for athletic contests or exhibitions or other events for which admission is charged to the general public.

According to Politico, the AHA and the NASPE fear that item No. 2 will prevent any stimulus money to be preserved for anything that smacks of physical education, which has already taken big cuts through the years as schools beefed up academic requirements and, so goes the theory, beefed up their students in the process.

With the slumping economy curtailing family funds for expensive gym memberships and traveling soccer teams, health lobbyists say the school gym is vital to keeping students healthy.

“These are the kind of facilities that Barack Obama used to play basketball in in Illinois,” said American Heart Association lobbyist Sue Nelson. “They are very valuable to the community — particularly communities that can’t afford a Gold’s Gym membership.”

Notwithstanding that Obama as a youth played basketball in Hawaii, any fears by the physical education police that the stimulus will make kids fat are unfounded. As an aide to Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin notes in the Politico piece, the item as written does not include a school gym that happens to be used for varsity basketball games, or a field area that happens to be used for varsity soccer. It’s to prevent some school in, say, Texas, from using stimulus money to build the high school equivalent of the new Dallas Cowboys stadium (the real stadium didn’t need the stimulus money, what with already getting tax money locally). The key word is “primarily.”

Your tax dollars at work.


3 Responses

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  1. And don’t forget our happy story in NYC, in which the taxpayers gave vast amounts to subsidize a new stadium for the Yankees, which in turn has displaced much-needed nearby public parks and ballfields. Of course, the Yankess have promised to replace the facilities at some point, just as soon as they get around to it (maybe when they’re done shelling out nine-figure player contracts). But it’s not all bad news for the Bronx–just think of the economic impact it’ll deliver for the surrounding community! You know–just like the old stadium did.

    Dan Janzen

    February 3, 2009 at 11:24 am

  2. You — and everyone else out there in Yourkid’snotgoingproland — should also look at the hurt Indianapolis is feeling with shiny new Lucas Oil Stadium. The board in charge of running operations is hurtling toward bankruptcy, and meanwhile the owners of the Pacers have the temerity to suggest that they might need more favorable terms in their lease. Of course, big stadiums that suck up tax dollars aren’t directly related to this blog, but eventually I’ll get to all the localities sucking up tax dollars for large-scale youth facilities meant to compete for big-time tournament events.


    February 3, 2009 at 12:11 pm

  3. […] his stimulus package earlier this year, any money that went to schools came with one caveat — that it not be used for anything that is primarily used for sports. Perhaps it’s time to rethink that […]

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