Participation in High School Sports Lowers Major Crime

Alison Grodzinski Blog Posts 15 Comments

When high schools have strong interscholastic sports participation rates, they report lower levels of major crime and fewer suspensions, according to a new University of Michigan study.

The research includes violent behavior and attempted rape among major crimes, and suspensions involving five or more days out of school.

“Sport participation opportunities within a school might operate to slow down or stop more major forms of delinquency within a school environment from occurring,” said Philip Veliz, a postdoctoral fellow at the U-M Substance Abuse Research Center and the study’s lead author.

He co-wrote the research with Sohaila Shakib, an associate professor of sociology at California State University-Dominguez Hills.

Read more about the study from UM News Service:

Comments 15

  1. I completely agree with you. Being part of sports and clubs will lower the levels of crime. I believe this is due to the social bonds that individuals create with their institution. Individuals who are involved in sports will decrease their chances of them engaging in criminal activity. Being in a sport is a key influenced on the extent to which individuals can be kept from committing crime. People will be more likely to behave criminally when their bond to conventional society is weak or broken, but when there bond to sports is strong, individuals will stray from crime. I hope more sports are implemented.

  2. True, students who are busy with afterschool activities are too busy to get into trouble and would not want to get into trouble because it could jeopardize with their responsibilities, i.e. sports and academic future. However, if students focus too much on sports they may fall behind on academics. Also, there may be some conflict between the athlete and teacher. For example, say there is a star athlete who is marvelous in sports but lacks on the academics, some professors may pass this student because there is a big game coming up and need him or her to play. The student should not be allowed because they are failing on their academics. Being great at a sport is awesome but I think having an education is much more important. This reminds me of the movie Coach Carter. In the movie, Coach Carter does not allow one of his players to play basketball until his grades went up because he believed that an education could take him further in life than playing basketball could. He knew that his player had the potential to succeed in academics, so he did not allow him to play until he improved. But I do agree that playing a sport afterschool could stop or slow down major forms of delinquency. This is why there are so many afterschool programs like the Boys and Girls Club.

  3. i agree 100% that joining a sport reduces the chances of commiting a crime. In high school i played soccer and knowing that i could get kicked of the team prevented me from doing negative actions. Teenagaers sometimes just need a place where they can get away from their problems and thats what sports do. Playing sports also help relieve stress and anger that builds up. Ones behavior is going to be highley influenced by his or her peers and one does not want to be viewed negative by their friends.

  4. I completely agree with the fact that children involved in sports are less likely to be involved in delinquent acts. Playing a organized sport allows the children to bond with others of similar interests, allows them to feel like they are apart of something and occupies the majority of their free time. I played sports in high school and in order to stay on the team there were certain rules that had to be abided by. I believe this helped to keep structure in some peoples lives where most delinquents lack structure and turn to gangs. This also reinforces the fact that less violent crimes were reported because participating in a sport allows one to release any stress that may be building in a positive and healthy way. I believe that if there were more extra curricular activities for children to participate in now a days then crime rates would decrease and we would see more children with a brighter futures.

  5. This article brings up a valid point in regards to commitment to social norms. Generally a higher level of commitment to conventional means such as sports, education, and community service leads to a lower rate of delinquency and crime. Individuals who value these goals feel a sense of belonging to a their organization, motivation towards excelling in their craft, and attachment to their conventional peers. Moreover, those who are involved simply do not have ample free time to commit deviant acts (as “idle hands are the devil’s workshop”). As such, their drive towards criminal behavior is significantly lower than their non-committed counterparts. Additionally, through participation in sports and other positive activities – these individuals work towards achieving a positive master status (which should also motivate them to maintain success).

  6. I completely agree, I am a Folk-style Wrestling coach in Santa Ana California, where the majority of student that are forced to join a sport change dramatically. They not only change their actions of deviant behaviors but also they catch up with new beneficial attitudes that he could latter in life use. We had a case where the kid was in and out of Juvenal hall, he was in technical terms a lost case. When this kid joined his attitude towards other change. Deviant behaviors drop, the kid drop the gang he was affiliated with and since he found the love for the sport and competition and the requirements where to have good grades. His grades increased to higher than average. School should provide after school programs to diminish crime rates, however we are putting it a side for “more important” issues the school have to deal with.

  7. There is no doubt that high schools that have strong interscholastic sports participation rates, demonstrate lower crime and suspension levels. I agree with Jeanette, students who participate in sports have less time on their hands to get in trouble. Sports also motivate students to do well academically, for most high schools require student athletes to maintain at least a 2.0 GPA. Failure to maintain a 2.0 GPA could get the student suspended from sports. Involvement in sports also helps to develop strong values like self esteem and work ethic. These values can help students be successful in other aspects of life.

  8. Participation in high school sports and other activities is very important among children and adolescences. Studies have made the public aware of children who are left unsupervised or lack adult supervision are in jeopardy for developing behavioral problems, getting injured and or engaging in delinquent activity. Encouraging children to join sports or similar activities keep them busy, off danger, and supervised. Therefore, I strongly support participation in high sport and activities do lower major crime and also helps children keep motivated for a better future.

    1. I think this is right on, of course participating in sports reduces crime. Simply from an activity stand point, if someone is playing sports they can not be committing crime at the same time. Being involved in a positive activity will keep kids from negative ones. Not only that, but sports can bring about a sense of self worth that they not might not find elsewhere. A good point to bring up here is social control theory by Travis Hirschi, he states that those you have more social control, commit less crime or no crime. Four things that he mentions help people are attachment, involvement, commitment, and belief. If applied to sports, attachment would be the positive things that come from being on a team and gaining friends, the attachment to them can be a positive influence. Commitment to the team and the sport would be next in that it takes them away from crime and commits them in a positive environment, rather than a negative one. Involvement would be that being involved in the sport, gives them more time to spend on the team and working to win rather than out doing bad things. Belief in the team and conventional pursuits like sports over crime would be last. This is an example of a theory, but it is easy to see how a positive thing like organized sports can keep kids out of trouble.

  9. I agree with this article as well. When I was in high school I can remember the bad influences that waited for me outside of school. I saw how drugs and gangs easily took hold of some kids. Just like sports after school, there are many other programs that can help these kids from involving themselves in crime. I played for the tennis team in high school and we either play a game or practice every day, sometimes on the weekend too. Just being involved in something after school like student council, or art club, can greatly reduce the chance of someone being involved in a crime.

  10. This relates back to the social control theory. The more responsible influences and time allotments that young adults have, the more likely they are to maintain a responsible role. They would not want to jeopardize their standing either based on relationships with the coach or teammates, or perhaps future employment in the sport. Also, if It is a strenuous sport that drains energy, they are less likely to be up for engaging in risky behavior. When I played high school baseball and worked part time as well, I barely had time to rest let alone engage in criminal or risky behavior. Having the commitment of structure with players and friends on the time also dissuaded me to do things that would be looked down upon. If/When I raise my kids, I will be sure to enroll them in a heavy participation sport. It will keep them busy, and it is almost like a free babsitter! Overall their health and energy levels will be much more in check and maintained, which leads to better attitudes and better decisions.

  11. I’m glad someone brought this topic up, violence can be brought to a minimum if there was more after school activity happening for adolescent kids. It’s important to keep kids busy during and after school because it takes up all of their time that could be spent doing delinquent activities. If some of these after school activities involved spending time with these adolescent kids about their future careers I feel like this would minimize crime. If kids felt like they had something to work up to then maybe they wouldn’t be so susceptible to criminal behavior. Having goals and staying busy is important, it gives you a purpose.

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