Robotics vs Sports

What is the Value of a Robotics team compared to a sports team. Alot!!

Lets say that the average robotics team costs 11k and has 15 students. The cost per kid is $730 per kid. And per the FRC marketing material 88% of kids involved in a first team go to college. That means on our average team 13 kids go to college.

Using the data from this info graphic we created a a graph to show how robotics compared to other high school sports. We also added the national rate that kids go to college and came up with a graphic of our own. Robotics by far looks like the best deal a school can make if it want to get kids to college.

To see the data that went into this go here

I really hate this sports vs robotics debate. I wish we would concentrate on making us better instead of trying to put sports down.

I think you need to do more research to make this valid.

How many students in each group would have gone to college anyway?
How many students would have dropped out without the activity?
How much revenue does the activities generate?

Every sport has the same percentage of college-bound participants?

If you really need to present this information, you have to present more than generalities.

And I agree with Indy - why can’t it be Robotics and Sports?

I think the most important piece of information is that almost ALL of a robotics team budget comes from private investment of companies.
If schools matched even 50% of grants/sponsorships at their current rates (I’m guessing $10k-15k/year of private money) programs would be able to expand quite a bit.

…not to mention that those kids going to college are majoring in productive fields.

Fair enough. Should reword the thread to best value for school systems.

This is an issue because the Philly school system cut robotics across the board yet maintained football and other sports. All while complaining that the drop out rate, graduation rates and budgets in the city are continuing to decline. If the school really wanted to get its money’s worth they should shut down the football teams and fund cross country, soccer and other low cost per student sports. Robotics being one of them.

I agree that if budget cuts are forcing schools to cut extracurricular funding the schools boards should look at the broad picture and ignore the social norm.

More data should be gathered while also having a well defined success metric for various activities.

Is # of graduating seniors headed to college the goal?
Upping test scores?

In theory they could rank all extracurricular activities by such a metric and cut the worst ones (regardless of the social norm) if they have to cut any at all.

Besides funding, Title IX is a factor in deciding which sports are cut. What makes a “sport” in the schools?

  • Julia

The sports versus robotics debate is annoying on the surface. Sports is valuable and robotics is too ! Sports funding often has a contribution from the school system, robotics not so much - unfair, not right !!

(a) us, making less sports less valuable than robotics will get us no where
(b) sportsters, making robotics less valuable than sports, will get the country no where !

We need support for athletics and robotics.

The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for 408,364 (2007) student-athletes in 28 men’s and 27 women’s intercollegiate sports with 17,713 teams participating at more than one thousand member schools.

Last year our team graduated a “Gatorade Player of the Year” - she received a full 5 year ride to Virginia Tech and will be majoring in a STEM career.

Student need to understand that the probability of them going pro in sports is extremely slim… if you are an NCAA athlete, your best opportunity is to take advantage of the educational opportunity. That is what a smart student does.

If they are fortunate enough to receive athletic and STEM scholarships, even better.

It looks like when you created this graph, you had every intention to make robotics appear to be the best deal.

You need listed an average robotics team of 11k budget with 15 kids in the post, but in the graph you used 35k with 60 students. If a team has 60 kids, I feel like it would cost quite a bit more than 35k including travel expenses. Also, I think most schools with only 75 kids on the football team would have trouble finding 60 kids for the robotics team. My old high school has 90+ kids on the freshman team alone, we also have a JV and a varsity team. We have around 5-10 kids from the school on the robotics team at a time.

Another variable is that the school makes money back from sports team through ticket sales, which they do not from a robotics team.

Taking all the data regarding sports expenses from one school is also a bit of a stretch.

The odds of a public school system cut something something such as a football team is incredibly slim; They’ve potentially been funding it for one hundred years, all the other public schools do as well, etc…

The School has no obligation to fund you, and since it’s a lesser known thing, it’s easier to cut.

Is this right? Is that how it should be? No, but unfortunately it’s the cards you’re playing with.

You’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar is what my mother always told me.

Request funding on the merits your program has, not the comparison to other funded programs. To compare to sports (especially with a pretty biased and self generated graph) is a little immature and unprofessional.

Worst case, if it doesn’t work out with the school, just have the team fund raise the money itself. I know if my team can raise it’s budget, yours can too!

Good luck!

You need a lot more data, since you seem to be assuming that the average number of kids from each sport go on to college, but your above average number of robotics kids. But this is almost certainly not the case. Furthermore, your no brainer is not a no brainer. From even your own analysis cross country is a good deal. And if cross country has a higher than 55% rate of athletes going to college (which is very likely) it would be more cost effective on either metric. As a robotics coach who also coaches cross country, I feel they both have value. So let’s not start this robotics vs. sports debate. If your intention is to get more support from your school for robotics, frame it that way. Show that robotics gets less funding than sports and argue that it should get more. If you try to show that robotics is “superior” you will just alienate people. Yes America needs more engineers. We also need fewer sedentary people.

I agree the title is misleading. I believe the OP’s intention is to say, “schools fund these other programs mightily, another good investment may be the robotics team.”
As far as return on investment, I’d argue that with some tweaking, robotics could rival that of sports. Robotics competitions don’t have to be free - we do that by choice. I’ve never been to a Battlebots competition, but I’d expect to pay $5 (especially if it was televised). I don’t know of any sport that has free admission for spectators. Add in money brought in from concessions, too (if done right a cash cow). Athletics fans buy athletic team shirts, hats, promotional items - robotics could do the same (see 254).
If we ever do get to the point of a team in every high school, robotics will probably be self-sustaining, as some of the major sports are (basketball, football). The difference right now is if students want to learn about football, every Friday night for three months, five dollars will give them three hours of football experience. If a student wants to learn about robotics, there is a much different learning curve - travel to a regional, district, or offseason event that are far apart geographically and chronologically. (I’d be interested to see the impact of FiM and MAR on the general public after it’s been around for five or ten years.)
Sports can be very good. FRC was designed to emulate the best of sports. Like Scott said, let’s not minimize the importance or impact of sports; let’s add another dimension to the fans’ experience.

Minor correction, just wanted to point out that 254 doesn’t profit from their clothing sales.

The money’s gotta go somewhere. Where does it go? (not being snarky - I’m truly asking)

We included both the average and a large team. There are two robotics data points. One for 15 kids and a 11K and one for 60 kids and 35K. What data would you put in for robotics?

Agreed. the data from the original article where we got the sports data does not include revenue brought in from the team. This data is skewed and could move football and basketball down lower on the list.

All of the sports data was pulled directly from an article that is referenced. What data would you put in for the two robotics teams to make this graph more realistic?

The way their shirt orders are handled is similar to most websites (that aren’t venders) handling of such things.

They made an account with company XYZ (there are plenty of them), where you upload a design, set colors, set profit (they set it to $0), etc… When someone orders a shirt, it’s actually made one at a time. The company is located somewhere, doesn’t stock the shirts, and just makes them per order. They’re then shipped to the person who orders directly and 254 has no hands in the process.

I know you can set the profit to whatever you want, but they chose $0.

To clarify, this isn’t the situation specifically our team is in, but just something in the Philly area. We’ve been lucky enough to work with schools that balance sports and STEM.

We also know that schools will obviously keep programs that more kids know and are interested in already.

Adam’s post pretty much sums it up. The data and graph are interesting, but need to be taken with a grain of salt.

Yeah, we might try and find a grad and college rate for each sport to make the data more realistic. Does any one have a good lead on that? We can also add in an expected revenue column to the data. If we do, then most robotics teams would move from a school cost to the revenue columns since as someone pointed out most robotics funding comes from outside sources.

This is actually something I’d like to see. In the past I have had teachers complain that FRC was too expensive based on cost/student. I understand that the numbers might be closer but I would like to see an accurate representation of cost/student compared to other activities. This would be beneficial in our requests for funds (showing that we are cost competitive with other activities that teach some of the same qualities of leadership and teamwork) as well as using it as a measuring stick for our own efficiency.

What data do we need? Where can we get this data?