Counterpoint: Paper? Really? In 2015?

SHARE Counterpoint: Paper? Really? In 2015?

Vince Carter, who has coached at Von Steuben since 1986, says to improve record keeping, CPS needs to use electronic academic eligibility checks for student-athletes. Sun-Times file photo by Patrick Gleason.

The problem is systemic in Chicago Public Schools when it comes to keeping academic eligibility records. It really doesn’t have a lot to do with people not doing their jobs.

It is based on a time, back in the day, when sports administration had more employees.


The pieces of paper — eligibility sheets — have to go through way too many hands.

A sheet goes from the athletic director to the coach. From the coach it goes to the opposing coach. Then it heads to another athletic director, who puts it in an envelope for a mail-run truck driver to take it to sports administration. Someone has to open the envelope. Somebody gets it and files it, supposedly.

With schools not being uniform for staffing, maybe your athletic director is teaching six classes. Some schools aren’t paying for athletic directors. Maybe an assistant principal has to do it.

In this day of email and electronic transmissions, we should be able to bring this system into the 21st century.

Really, the coaches know the players on each team. There is no need for a sheet of paper. If a player is not academically eligible, that should be taken care of by the school’s administration. Giving the opposing coach a piece of paper does nothing. I might as well look at names in the scorebook. I’m not going to go to another school to figure out if all the kids are academically eligible.

That piece of paper means nothing.

Looking at the sheets is archaic. Who does that?

It’s a central office system that’s online that can let you know if a kid is eligible or not. That should be good enough. No one should be looking at eligibility sheets. Grades are computerized. Report cards are, too. I’m sure we can do the same for sports.

CPS is convening a committee of coaches and administrations that I’ve been asked to sit on to upgrade the system of how eligibility is managed.

I’m going to suggest that we move to something digital. There should be no paper. It’s burdensome, cumbersome.

It’s something that should have been done away with years ago.

Vince Carter is a retired math teacher who coaches boys basketball at Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center. He has coached since 1986.

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