Letterman Jackets: Too Easy to Get


Photo by Caroline Schlieker

Letterman jackets are no longer funded by the district, and are too easy to get.

Abigail Morris, Staff Writer

In previous years, letterman jackets were awarded and paid for by the school to students who worked hard and achieved certain goals in sports and organizations. Now, anyone can buy a custom letterman jacket, causing them to lose their meaning. The school district no longer pays for any part of the jacket. The rules should change to make patches exclusively available to active participants. 

Letterman jackets were originally created for varsity athletes whose accomplishments brought recognition to the school. In later years the jackets started being awarded to those in fine arts and clubs as well. However, the point system students use to earn the jacket has become too lenient. In the past, letterman jackets were awarded by the school, but now students are responsible for purchasing their own after lettering. Depending on the company, patches and add-ons, the jackets could cost a few hundred dollars. SSR, MISD’s newly contracted letterman company, has packages ranging from $100 to $300 without extra patches. If students are expected to pay that much for a jacket, it should hold meaning and be a symbol of their accomplishments. 

Most electives have a point system of how students can letter in their event, but once they letter in one, their patch options are open. This helps the letter jacket companies sell larger package deals on their sites, but contributes to the lack of value of the patches. The point systems should be stricter, and the ability to buy the patch for a specific organization should come directly from the sponsor or coach. By changing the rules, letterman jackets can regain their meaning. 

Some people believe letterman jackets should represent school spirit and therefore be open to all students. Although it’s true that letterman jackets help increase school spirit, the patches themselves should be what adds value to them. Students could be more inclined to participate in sports and clubs if they have to be involved in order to decorate the sleeves of their jackets. Without the patches, the letterman is just a jacket. 

Making patches accessible to everyone takes the value from letterman jackets. The district should change the rules to make patches available to only active participants of the various sports, classes and clubs and go back to paying for honor.