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Is HS Track in Jeopardy?

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  • Is HS Track in Jeopardy?

    It is with great consternation that I read the home-page-linked blog of a Detroit HS athlete faced with having to pay a $350 'user-fee' to play a fall sport. With the economy down and school budgets being slashed, this pay-to-play approach is popping up across the country. Even though I am immune to this (as a private school coach), it raises great concerns across the board for the future (certainly near-term, but also long-term) of HS athletics. HS sports depend on big participation numbers to succeed. If I have 100 on my track team, I'll have a good season, cuz at least 30 will be pretty good. Cut that to 60, and now I've got 20 good ones - 40 on the team and maybe 15 will be good.

    In my neck of the woods, parents' booster programs raise money to cut those costs for everyone, but obviously that is not happening (or could afford to happen) in some places.

    Any other horror stories out there? Any good solutions?

  • #2
    Re: Is HS Track in Jeopardy?

    I was alarmed by this revelation also. Being long removed from HS athletics, I was not aware any fees were charged for participation. I do not know if this is going on in OKC but I know there are perennially successful local teams that would be decimated by such a fee.

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    • #3
      Re: Is HS Track in Jeopardy?

      Fifteen years from now, when pay-for-play is in effect everywhere, this won't be so surprising. With school budgets getting tighter than Joan Rivers' face, it's not an matter of "if" but a matter of "when."

      Next up: pay to have firemen hose down your burning house, pay to "borrow" library books, pay to have a cop tackle that thief who's running from your house with a hi-def flat screen.

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      • #4
        Re: Is HS Track in Jeopardy?

        Originally posted by vip
        tighter than Joan Rivers' face
        Post of the day

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        • #5
          Re: Is HS Track in Jeopardy?

          Scottsdale, AZ School District
          A fee of $150.00 per Arizona Interscholastic Athletics (A.I.A.) activity (except band, chorus, orchestra, or drama) shall be charged to all participants. There is not a cap on fees. Each sport must be paid for separately. Fee waivers based on need are available through the student store with approval from site administration. The athletic fee must be paid prior to the first contest and before any game equipment will be issued.

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          • #6
            Re: Is HS Track in Jeopardy?

            This is ominous, for sure, and can only hurt the sport. For a anedcotal sample of one, the best kid on my HS team (both x-c and track) was from one of the poorer (poorest?) families in town. If such fees had been in place back then, he almost certainly would not have been able to participate.

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            • #7
              Re: Is HS Track in Jeopardy?

              Someone told me a few years ago that it's $500/year per kid in Austin. Don't have kids that age so I don't know if that's a fact or not.

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              • #8
                Re: Is HS Track in Jeopardy?

                This is going on everywhere. In Georgia they are charging fees. I don't know if the fee is set by each county or by the individual schools. Some public schools have endowments and I'm sure they use those monies.
                Just one example from a local high schools website for current 2010 Football season fees.
                FALL FOOTBALL PLAYER fees (all levels) for the 2010 season
                **payments can be made using PayPal on the top left of this page**
                -Player fees for Freshman, JV and Varsity- $250.00
                They also charge $250.00 for middle school football.

                meanwhile there are counties that are using tax money to install brand new turf football fields at every high school in the county at cost of over $9,000,000 for about 16 schools. I will say this the voters approved the tax before the recession hit and they are just about finished installing all of the new fields. It just looks really bad when you see a $600,000 football field then ask the kids to pay to play. Last note, even schools with $10,000,000 endowments get the new tax paid football field.

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                • #9
                  Re: Is HS Track in Jeopardy?

                  Originally posted by Marlow
                  It is with great consternation that I read the home-page-linked blog of a Detroit HS athlete faced with having to pay a $350 'user-fee' to play a fall sport.
                  Where have you been?! This has been going on for more than ten years in a creeping progression from poorly-funded school districts to the more affluent districts.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Is HS Track in Jeopardy?

                    Originally posted by dj
                    Originally posted by Marlow
                    It is with great consternation that I read the home-page-linked blog of a Detroit HS athlete faced with having to pay a $350 'user-fee' to play a fall sport.
                    Where have you been?! This has been going on for more than ten years in a creeping progression from poorly-funded school districts to the more affluent districts.
                    I also was surprised at how many here were surprised. Of course, there is the question of why the school district should sponsor non-academic sports teams when they rarely sponsor all or even most of the costs for Math Olympiad, Science Olympiad, Language competitions, etc.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Is HS Track in Jeopardy?

                      Without High School you can't expect to show up in College and think your going to be a world beater. I hope the economy changes if not a lot of poor school districts will cancel track & field. Jamacia will kept getting better track is to important too the islands identity.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Is HS Track in Jeopardy?

                        Regulations vary from state to state. In Ohio, if a school district goes to "pay to play" it still has to foot the bill for students who qualify for free lunch )and pay the proprtion for those who qualify for reduced-price lunch). So it's not a common move for high-poverty districts like the one where I work.

                        Track is, relatively speaking, a cheap sport. So at least if there are sport-specific fees, it may drive kids out of baseball and into track.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Is HS Track in Jeopardy?

                          Originally posted by dj
                          Originally posted by Marlow
                          It is with great consternation that I read the home-page-linked blog of a Detroit HS athlete faced with having to pay a $350 'user-fee' to play a fall sport.
                          Where have you been?!
                          In a large metropolitan area that does NOT have these exorbitant fees. This is the first time I've seen a number like $350 for one sport. $50 here and there, maybe.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Is HS Track in Jeopardy?

                            Originally posted by Riff80
                            meanwhile there are counties that are using tax money to install brand new turf football fields at every high school in the county at cost of over $9,000,000 for about 16 schools. I will say this the voters approved the tax before the recession hit and they are just about finished installing all of the new fields. It just looks really bad when you see a $600,000 football field then ask the kids to pay to play. Last note, even schools with $10,000,000 endowments get the new tax paid football field.
                            In fairness, there can be a lot of long-term benefits to a good field turf surface. The maintenance is nearly zero. No mowing no watering no fertilizing no weeding. Plus you can rent out the facility a lot more often.


                            As far as pay to play, that's standard at most schools in WA. Our booster club helps kids who can't afford it.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Is HS Track in Jeopardy?

                              Originally posted by polevaultpower
                              a lot of long-term benefits to a good field turf surface. The maintenance is nearly zero.
                              You'd be surprised. WE did NOT get one because the maint costs ARE still significant, but also because they are much hotter than grass (a big problem in Fla). The only plus for us would have been that football would not have left it a dirt bowl by the end of the season - soccer has to play on it in the winter here.

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