Crossover Basketball and Scholars Academy is creating educational opportunities for the students in India. Less than 40% of children in India attend secondary schools - this equates to over 70 million teenagers without opportunity or access to consider a college education. Millions of children who will be challenged to alter their own socio-economic status or that of their families. Even with the Right to Education Act (passed in 2009) only children aged 6 - 14 are guaranteed schooling. This lack of access exacerbates the broadening gap between the wealthy and the poor - continuing a generations old class-structure in new and crueler ways. This is a travesty when India has come so far to overcome its culture of pre-destined status and move towards a meritocratic democracy.
At Crossover Basketball, we asked ourselves: how can we change the way the students approach the system? Our solution uses after-school basketball programs situated in school contexts. We leverage the concept of “team” to engage the students on both an individual and communal level, isolate the motivations and ideals of good sportsmanship, and give students tools to carry from the court into the classroom. At the end of the day, we believe that education is the ultimate key to unlock the potential of India’s youth — and the creativity, drive, and cooperation that are vital to success in basketball are the same skills that will make them successful in the classroom, in college, and beyond.
Our approach is three pronged. First, we will educate and train local coaches in the Chennai region to implement US sports methodology within the community. Second, we will establish two-week, intense, academic- and basketball-focused training camps also in Chennai. Third, we will scale the program to other targeted communities with a long-term goal of establishing a permanent residential school in the region to run throughout the calendar year. Our participation model focuses on any interested, motivated, student-athlete regardless of family income or socioeconomic status. Our academic model seeks to promote opportunities available through US secondary and college programs to leverage athletic ability into academic opportunity. And our coaching model looks to create future Indian community leaders through John Wooden’s methodology of teaching teamwork, adaptability, strategy, competition, and cooperation.
Crossover Basketball and Scholars Academy is the first international non-profit program in India that leverages athletics to develop academic opportunities for students regardless of their economic status. Crossover’s objective is to improve students’ academic
skills and recruitment opportunities concurrent with their athletic skills to allow access to secondary and college level education in India, the United States and Europe.
Crossover Basketball is dedicated to the idea that India is unlike any other country where basketball has been expanded. The key to integrating the sport within the community will be its emphasis on the provision for educational prospects. Accordingly, the Crossover program will bring together young people with academic interest and athletic skill to learn both on the court and in the classroom. This balanced approach allows students to learn about all the opportunities that exist through athletics and how to achieve their goals. We are not focused on producing the next NBA superstar, but rather a community of student leaders who will serve as an example to others and who just might be the next starting college and universities players.
Education results in increased economic opportunity, decreased infant mortality rates, a reduction in family size and therefore population growth, and increases in general health awareness. These factors combine to facilitate widespread community change. However, if education is not available, change is unlikely. The association between education and sport has existed for centuries, and as it has evolved educational institutions and sport have become intertwined to mutual benefit.
It is a question of access, and sport can be part of the answer. We believe in supporting the whole child, not just their performance in school. We expect our students to be involved in their communities and act as role models; we are not just preparing athletes and helping to increase education rates, we are preparing future leaders for Indian communities.