smart spending

Pay to play: High school athletic fees


High schools were hit hard by the economic downturn. And while the economy is slowly picking back up ... it seems like school districts are looking for ways to bring their funds back up.

It's called pay to play. Select high schools around the country are mandating students pay a fee to play in sports.

The fees between districts vary widely from some of the lowest starting at $35 to the highest topping off at around $650. Depending on the district it could be a one-time fee or a fee per season.

"I agree with it. I think if you have some low income families who need some help they could have maybe perhaps a scholarship set up. But I think generally most parents can afford it."

Schools are factoring in all their sports cost including equipment, uniforms, games, tournaments and transportation. By charging a fee for students to participate … these costs could be cut in half.

Some districts offer discounts to families with more than one child playing in a sport. And students that can't pay the fee have the option to pay in installments or work the money off.

School boards feel this pay-to-play fee is a fair compromise with the alternative being the cutting of sports programs all together.

"It's certainly better than having it cut, the way they've had to cut so many other things."

While students don't seem to mind the fees ...

"It's still fun and it's an active sport so it'd be fun to do."

"In my school we already do that." You do? Okay, so how much is it? "It's 100." Per sport? "Per season yeah." Okay and how do people feel about it? "It's normal, no one really thinks anything of it."

It seems the parents have different opinions.

"That's crazy. Because it should be something that's a part of the curriculum and that should be part of the school activities. You can't start charging, there are too many poor people out there, they can't be charged for everything."

"If you look at the student athletes today their GPAs are higher than if they weren't playing ball. Maybe not the highest in the school, but if those same guys weren't playing ball their GPA's would be lower and they won't be getting into colleges. So to take that away from them because they're shy of a few hundred dollars is ridiculous."

One thing's for sure … as the fees go up ... it's likely that participation will go down. For, I'm Theresa Heintz.



Show Bankrate's community sharing policy
          Connect with us

Connect with us