Is There Favoritism in High School Sports?


Elizabeth Saiz

Throughout Santa Fe High, there have been rumors and complaints about favoritism within many of the sports programs in our school. The claims mostly have to do with coaches choosing their “favorites” ahead of time, meaning certain students will always be picked to play.

Some students expressed their opinions on the subject, such as sophomore basketball player Ameen Benhalim. “If a coach knows the parents, they’ll give more playing time to certain players,” he said.

Some students themselves believe that they are favorites. “Yes, I do think I’m a favorite,” said a student who would like to remain anonymous.

Coaches expressed different opinions. Ms. Beech, a boy’s basketball coach, says she has never heard these complaints. “There are claims of favoritism?” she said. “I don’t think that’s the case in our program.”

Mr. Eadie, the varsity boys’ soccer coach, expressed his thoughts on the subject. “I think there is potentially some when it comes to certain sports. It depends on what your program goals are as a coach.” He said his son is also on the team, and he pushes him harder than other athletes. 

“I show more preference for varsity over JV because I’m the coach for varsity, and my son is in the program, and if anything I scrutinize my son more than any other player,” he said.

Other athletes from different sports had mixed responses, but all agreed that they could point out a ‘favorite” if the team were all lined up. “I could definitely point out a favorite,” another anonymous student stated. “There are some coaches in every sport that favor some players over others. I don’t feel like it’s based on skill either.”

“You can just tell which player the coaches like more,” sophomore football player Cipriano Moya claimed “I would consider myself a favorite.”.

According to Jason Smith, a worker at the Next College Student Athlete organization, favoritism is a common issue.

“Most people will probably find it surprising that many coaches will actually agree that they play favorites, though they might do it for different reasons than you’d think,” said Smith in an NCSA article. “Oftentimes, playing favorites simply means playing the athletes that are simply the most talented. Playing favorites could mean giving more opportunities to athletes that exhibit certain traits or a specific playing style that the coach prefers.”

Smith also explains that the athletes are the ones who start up the rumors of favoritism because “it’s difficult to be objective about their own talent level, but easy to complain about not receiving recognition.” 

There is no guarantee that these claims are true, but it is certainly something to think about when considering joining a sport.