Sports Credit Gone: A Hit or a Miss?


Participation on the boys’ swim team is down 30% from last year, making it difficult for the team to form relays and compete with larger teams. Photo Credit: Archmere Academy

Elizabeth Maher '24, Asst. News and Managing Editor

The sports credit has long been an integral part of Archmere. Because of the lack of a gym class, students were required to accrue four sports credits over four year through participa- tion in any of the school’s 24 varsity sports. However, this policy changed at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year when it was announced that Archmere would no longer require a sports credit.

The sports credit was eliminated at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year as a result of conversations between Archmere administration, primarily Mr. Dougherty, and the Archmere Athletic Department, headed by Mr. Oswinkle. According to Mr. Dougherty, the sports credit requirement was removed for a variety of reasons: “The reasons were mainly related to the management of the process,” he said.

Though the collection of a cer- tain number of sports credits was traditionally touted as a necessity for graduation, Mr. Dougherty said the school never refused to graduate someone who failed to meet the requirement. “The requirement had no teeth.”

Under the sports credit, students were able to get credit for outside- of-school athletic activities at Mr. Dougherty’s discretion. However, this process caused discussions between administrators and students about what counted as a credit and what didn’t. “I don’t want to nego- tiate with parents or kids,” said Mr. Dougherty.

Mr. Dougherty also described
the practice of having the sports credit while also having teams that cut as “counterintuitive.” Requiring students to participate in athletics but cutting them from the teams that they needed to be on just “didn’t seem fair,” he said.

While it is still a recent change, Mr. Oswinkle, Archmere’s Athletic Director, said that the removal of
the credit has had a mainly positive effect on the whole athletic program. He cited the abundance of athletic opportunities for students who chose to participate and noted that students are no longer forced into choosing an athletic activity.

Some students agree. “Students
at Archmere are stressed enough as it is– for those non sporty students, this is such a relief and opportunity to do things for actual enjoyment afterschool,” said Cassie Mantalonis ‘23, who now has more time for activities like DEI, Creative Writing, and Crochet Club.

“We didn’t think [removing
the sports credit] would diminish participation in athletics, and there is no evidence that it has,” added Mr. Dougherty. Mr. Oswinkle agreed. “Again, it’s early, but the fall success of teams and the number of partic- ipants were actually up a little from previous years.”

While several fall sport teams fared well without the sports credit, other teams have not been so lucky. Melissa Doig ‘25, a member of the swim team, felt frustrated about the

removal of the sports credit. “I want the credit back. As a member of the swim team we have lost almost half the team due to the removal of the sports credit and now have less op- portunities for events to take place.”

Another activity in the same situa- tion as the swim team is the 5k Club, which is run by Mrs. Kathy Wright. As a more relaxed alternative to the intensity of other sports, the 5k Club prospered under the sports credit requirement. However, participation plummeted this year after the credit was removed. “I haven’t had anything this year,” said Mrs. Wright. “It’s hard to get [students] to want to squeeze another thing into their time because Archmere students are so busy.”

“I wish they would reinstate it be-

cause I know students who would’ve never done a sport if they weren’t forced to at least try something,” she expressed. Many students seem to agree with this sentiment. “I started swimming my freshman year just to try something new to get my sports credit, and I fear that other people like me won’t try a new sport that they might end up really enjoying,” Natalie Gildea ‘23, another member of the swim team, said.

While members of the Archmere community feel both positively and negatively about the removal, it is clear that the elimination of the sports credit has truly changed the game at Archmere, unfortunately so for groups like the swim team and 5k Club.