The Official Student Voice of Copper Hills High School

The Grizzly Growl

Can’t Pay? Can’t Play.

How the Cost of Sports Effects Those Who Play

Lexi Hilton

Lexi Hilton

Portia Price, Sports Editor

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The fat price tag of high school sports is discouraging to many students with low income and high talent. Between participation fees, uniform, spirit packs, team activities, travel, and equipment, sports can cost hundreds of dollars just for the high school season. Parents put their kids into sports to make them better athletes and teach them valuable lessons to shape them into better people. There are also parents looking at the sport’s cost as an investment in their student’s future, with the paramount goal being a college scholarship. This can be extremely misleading, especially because the odds of playing a sport in college aren’t very high. With an increasing competition in elite athletics, parents have to reach deep into their pockets to cover the fees, making some families wonder if the value of high school sports is really worth the cost.

Jordan School District has the highest student-athletics participation fee in the state at $175. Additionally, other fees can range anywhere from zero to $830 for travel, equipment, spirit packs, and other things. For many families, these costs are out of reach. Terysa Dyer, the girl’s tennis coach and an assistant softball coach, says, “As a coach, it’s hard to compromise the boundary between offering students the glamour of exclusive opportunities, and calling enough so that the cost per athlete doesn’t become astronomical.” There are things that can be cut out to lower fees, such as spirit packs. Granted, there would be an uproar in some sports if their spirit packs are cut out in consideration of disadvantaged students. So are these costs shutting lower income students out of sports? Nearly 70 percent of children from families making more than $100,000 a year played team sports, according to Project Play. That figure is nearly cut in half for families making less than $25,000 yearly. As the price of playing increases, the number of players decreases. This is disheartening on its own, but some of these students could have a talent in these sports and want to play. Plus, there are so many benefits that stem from involvement in sports, such as improved health, lower obesity rates, and lower dropout rates. Plus, there is a possibility that these discouragingly high prices are leaving a big chunk of the talented students out. The high school sports culture places a colossal emphasis on winning, and it’s possibly leaving some of the best athletes and potential teammates behind.

Of course, there are possible ways to lower these fees such as waivers and fundraising. Uniform and participation fees can be waived under certain circumstances, but there are other costs that are required. Dyer continues, “There are plenty of fundraising opportunities available, but they are sometimes inconvenient or difficult to turn into substantial profits. And in some cases, students face the difficult choice of playing the sport they love, or getting a job to contribute to their family’s income.” It’s common that students in low income households are expected to work to help their families bring in money. Student athletes hardly have any time in the season for a job, it’s not news that playing sports takes up a big chunk of their schedule. Most teams practice every day with games at least once a week, there’s just not enough time for both.

Playing sports at any level can be a key part of the school experience and have an extensive impact on a student’s life. For some families, financial hardships may override an interest in pursuing school activities. No school wants cost to be the reason for a student to not participate in activities, but it’s kind of a problem that nobody is completely sure how to fix. “It’s a reality that seems more and more inevitable, but that doesn’t mean it’s right,” says the girl’s tennis coach. Copper Hills High School staff strive to make sure students and parents are aware of low and no-cost activities and alternatives by offering waivers and other low-priced options for the students who need it, because the overall value of high school sports and the lessons they teach and the memories they make should be greater than the price it costs to play them.

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The Official Student Voice of Copper Hills High School
Can’t Pay? Can’t Play.