It looks like high school athletes around the country will soon have the opportunity to compete on a national stage.
IMG Academies announced yesterday will hold national championships this summer at the company's Brandenton, Fla.-based facility for 7-on-7 football and boys and girls 7-on-7 lacrosse, team tennis and team golf. The plan is to eventually expand the competition to include 20 sports, including basketball. The tournaments would consists of all-star teams from each state.
There is a Pennsylvania connection here, too. IMG's partner in all of this is the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA), which is based in Easton.
Of course, this development once again raises various issues that have permeated high school athletics in recent years: Commercialization, increased pressure, pulling kids further-and-further away from the classroom. I have to say, I'm not sure this sits too well with me. And the involvement of a commercial giant like IMG -- which is to philanthropy what James Cameron is to thriftiness -- doesn't alleviate any of those concerns. Let's be honest, they're in it for the money. And there is certainly money to be made here.
Anyway, what does everyone else think?