It’s early evening. The sun has just gone down beyond the horizon. You’re sitting on a bleacher, talking to your friends, waiting for the ball game to start. Everyone’s happy and excited, hoping that their team will be victorious. It’s the stuff that numerous teen movies are based on. It’s what you survive the 8am bell for 5 days a week. It’s a high school sports game. And, it might be endanger of becoming extinct.
High school sports are fun! Nobody can deny that homecoming and state championships are a blast, especially if your team wins. However, they are also very expensive. Equipment, coaches salaries, busing the team around, maintaining the facilities… it all adds up. And with the current economic recession hitting everyone, some schools are reducing the number of annual games in order to save some money.
The Florida High School Athletic Association is requiring members to reduce the number of games played in an effort to cut expenses. Varsity games are being reduced by 20 percent and non-varsity games by 40 percent.
FHSAA President Greg Zornes said “these are unprecedented times. People are losing their jobs as schools are cutting millions of dollars from their budgets. Our job is to look out for all the schools.”
The FHSAA hopes that by cutting down the number of games played, they will not have to completely eliminate any sport due to funding issues.
The East Side Union High School District in California is in a much dire situation. The district recently announced that the sports program needs to be “self-funded” or be cut completely.
Students and parents were asked to raise $2 million to support next year’s sports teams. Some proposed a “pay to play” voluntary fee for athletes. There was also a 5K run to raise funds; however, the turn out was not very successful.
“We’re in the fourth quarter, and the two-minute warning just went off,” said Oak Grove High School’s football coach, Eddie Buller.
If schools cut their athletic programs, athletes who were hoping to get an athletic scholarship through sports would be left out in the cold. Parents whose children enjoy playing sports would also be upset. Students who like going to the game would have to find something else to do on a Friday night. Schools who are trying to cut costs should probably try to find some other way to do so. I have to believe there’s a better way to handle these tough financial times than by eliminating one of the most entertaining and beneficial parts of a teenager’s high school career.
via The San Jose Mercury News and WPBF.com