I just wanted to point your attention to an article in this month’s Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies titled “Sports at Work: Anticipated and Persistent Correlates of Participation in High School Athletics.” This isn’t a completely new topic and we’re guessing you may have already read about previous research. (You can click here for a discussion of how college sports can positively impact women’s careers.)
The study believes the explanation for the higher salaries high school athletes earn later in life is due to higher expectations both athletes and non athletes have for the former high school varsity players. The higher salaries were found in Germany as well as here in the US and another interesting find is that former athletes were more likely to volunteer time and be more generous with charities.
It’s certainly possible the study missed the root cause (perhaps more stable families or some other factor allow these individuals to play high school sports), but it’s interesting nonetheless. If you have younger children and are on the fence between encouraging them to participate in sports or a non athletic endeavor, I can tell you from first-hand experience that athlete applicants tend to get slightly better admission results than those who participated in music, math competitions, etc. Finally, I’d like to see a study that compared former high school athletes by how team oriented their sports were.