User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Soccer
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
Gruden concerned about youth sports

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

Like any successful coach, Jon Gruden understands the importance of statistics. He doesn't like the numbers he's seeing about youth sports participation and funding.

Advertisement
So the Super Bowl-winning coach and current ESPN analyst is doing something to invigorate grass roots sports. Gruden is using his popularity and impressive audience reach by combining with DICK'S Sporting Goods and its foundation for the Sports Matter program.

DICK'S has made a $25 million, multi-year commitment to support youth athletic programs, including donations to local sports teams. Sports Matter aims to address the growing issue of underfunded youth athletics nationwide, and DICK'S Foundation will match community donations to award up to $2 million in grants to disbanded or financially challenged youth sports teams.

''I know this is a huge issue,'' says Gruden, who has three sons. ''Less sports participation and a lack of funding are a real concern to me. Youth sports are being diminished in our country, and I learned so many life lessons through my participation in them.

''We are talking about kids just getting started and they need to be afforded the opportunity to play, and be encouraged to play. Quality coaching and teaching matters. I want these students and young people to be taught and encouraged to play sports.''

Surveys have shown a decline in grass roots sports participation throughout the United States. In the four most popular U.S. team participation sports - basketball, soccer, baseball and football - among boys and girls ages 6 through 17, the drop was roughly 4 percent from 2008-2012, according to an examination of data from youth leagues, school sports groups and industry associations reported by the Wall Street Journal.

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, participation in high school football was down 2.3 percent in the 2012-13 season compared to the 2008-09 season. High-school basketball participation fell 1.8 percent in that time span.

Gruden had a taste of the problems when he was fired by Tampa Bay, which he led to the 2002 NFL title.

''I got a chance to help coach the high school football team of my son as an assistant line coach,'' Gruden says. ''The first thing I realized is there was no budget: no footballs, no bags to block, and a lot of kids couldn't afford shoulder pads.''

This was in football hotbed Florida.

''I think every sport is being damaged,'' he adds. ''The quality of coaching is not what it used to be. They can't afford to do it because there's no budget. Teams are much smaller than in recent years in numbers. I have seen it with my own two eyes. In Florida, you can play all year round, and yet a lot of our youth sports are diminished.

''I want to encourage our young people to compete and play and learn about work ethic and being part of a team and how to compete. These are all important life lessons.''

Gruden plans to call on supporters from pro leagues, colleges, high schools and youth organizations, from the private sector and from his contacts in broadcasting. As is his style, he seeks to hit the challenge head-on. He believes Sports Matter will be just the right tool to reverse the trend of decline in American youth sports - a direction that has damaged U.S. sports on the international competition level, too.

''I will encourage people I know to encourage people they know. Every little bit will help,'' Gruden says.

---

Online: http://www.dicks.com/sportsmatter)

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2015
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Zylbert: Vegas gambles with Baldwin Prop
News: 49 Super Betting Angles
Lynch answers no questions at Media Day
Kraft takes the offensive, defends Pats
SB, Tiger make Phoenix center of sports
Gronkowski ready to roll in Super Bowl
Deflated topic: air pressure in footballs
Redskins add Fewell to coaching staff
Roman to give Bills' Manuel a clean slate
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NFL Pro Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NFL Hot Streaks
10-3 Playoff Record, 25-8 L33
7-0 Last 7 Playoff Picks
31-19 +1,233 L50, +1,809 TY
6-1 L7 G-Plays, 17-8 L7 Sundays
9-2 L11, 15-4 L19 Streak
7-3 L10 NFL Selections
16-6 L6 Sundays, 22-9 L8 Sundays
2-0 Sunday, 20-7 Guarantees TY
13-5 L18 Guaranteed Plays
+1,450 Overall This Season
4-0 L4 Picks, 13-6 L19 Guarantees
4-1 Last 5 Playoff Picks
4-2 L6, 17-9 L26 Guarantees
4-1 Last 5 Total Plays
+1,362 Over/Under Plays TY
NFL Pro Football Expert Sports Picks- Super Bowl 49- New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks
2014 NFL SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Vince Akins + 1936
Joe Williams + 1809
Bruce Marshall + 1450
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
No Games Last Week  
   
   
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Vince Akins 58 %
Stephen Nover 57 %
Doc's Sports 56 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Mike Rose + 1225
Bruce Marshall + 739
Marc Lawrence + 715
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 1362
Hank Goldberg + 505
Joe Williams + 383
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
The Gold Sheet + 1152
Bruce Marshall + 1114
Stephen Nover + 750
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Daily Fantasy Sager Bomb