Keep no-cut: Everyone plays their part

William Tan, Editor-In-Chief

At Lab, we believe in inclusion. Granting equitable opportunities for all students is the foundation for realizing Lab’s mission of “learning experientially, exhibiting kindness, and honoring diversity.” 

There is no reason why our educational philosophy shouldn’t also apply to our sports teams. The no-cut policy is a valuable means to encourage inclusivity in sports and inspire passion in student-athletes. This is something the Lab athletics program should pride itself on preserving. 

A central reason we have school sports teams is to build a close-knit student community. I’m not an athlete, but I see the effects of their camaraderie in our spirit assemblies, Homecoming games, and in my friends who have found a sense of affiliation with their respective teams. Combined with our naturally competitive nature, athletics brings us as a student body together. 

But what happens when not everyone can take part in this experience? Having a cut policy, likely based on skill level, sits fully opposite to the values we hold as a school. Actively disallowing participation based on athletic ability discourages passion for sports and sets a precedent that we will support the athletic experience of a few students over that of many. A student who’s interested in a sport or wants to spend time with friends might not be able to join because they’re simply not good enough. On our mission statement principles, that’s just not right. 

I’m aware our commitment to creating a sense of community comes with an equal desire to achieve success. Our sports teams deserve to be as good as possible, and students of varying levels playing together might seem counterproductive to that goal. Yet that’s why we have multiple tiers of teams and clear divisions between levels — varsity, JV, etc. — to support the number of students who want to participate. Everyone gets a shot to play, and those who are at the highest level will naturally rise to the top tier.

Moreover, in many sports, it is known there are a select number of spots — a final cut — available to represent Lab in the IHSA sectional and state competitions. Athletes go into their seasons understanding that just a few will advance to these final competitions. Those who care about advancing are encouraged to engage in healthy competition to decide the representative group, while those who are there for recreational reasons or who are less focused on the scoreboard have a different purpose altogether. These groups have no reason to clash over the course of the season, and this trend is supported by our teams historically doing well in the postseason. There’s little substantive evidence to prove adding members has negatively impacted the performance of the representative athletes.

This poll has ended.

Should Lab maintain its no-cut policy?


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I know there are also logistical concerns to scaling this rapidly-expanding athletics program. But I believe it’s more feasible to consider hiring a new coach or purchasing a new bus than to force an overall decreased engagement in sports because students don’t feel they belong in our Maroon jerseys or have lost interest in the activity that brought them joy. Decisions need to remain in favor of prioritizing inclusivity because we’re not yet at the point where we have a detrimental oversubscription of student athletes.

Across the nation, schools tout their athletic success as the product of selective cut-policy programs. At Lab, we don’t need that. We can maintain our reputation as a competitive athletic school while offering opportunities for all students — regardless of grade or skill — to become a valuable part of the athletic community. Let’s keep proving that we’re different.