Athletic Funding: Is it equal?

Madisen Fell, Staff

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       Several coaches at Grafton High School have strong opinions about the distribution of funds throughout the athletic programs, but most do not know much about how the funds are distributed throughout the sports.

       Indoor track Assistant Coach Steven Nichols said he does not believe the funds are well distributed.

“I’ll be honest, I think because we don’t know what the overall budget is, it’s hard to determine where the funding is going and what teams are getting what and it is kind of hard to determine if you’re well-funded if you don’t know exactly what the available funds are,” Nichols said.

       This was a trend throughout the coaches because none of them really know the structure of the budgets. One person that does know how funds are distributed is the Athletic Director, Laura Parker.

“This is coaches’ stipends and the athletic directors’ stipends,” Parker said about the budget summary shown above.

She then went on to describe what each school gets for the year.

“We get $7,500 from the school board office,” Parker said.

To put that number in perspective, if that money was split evenly among the teams, each team only would receive around $417 for the season.

Each year York County School Division requires a $60 athletic participation fee per player per season for high school sports, but most students have no idea where this money goes.

“It is not school-based…that goes to the school board office, and I couldn’t tell you what it is used for,” Parker said.

After receiving this answer, school board member Cheryl Parr was contacted to clarify the situation.  

“Fees collected by the division are used to defray the cost of equipment, supplies, officials, transportation costs, and Virginia High School League membership fees,” Parr said.

According to Parker, the school does not use the athletic budget for bussing athletic teams to and from events. The $60 that each athlete pays to go towards those sort of funds, but Parr said they do not cover all athletic costs.

“Additional costs are covered by the school division as well as schools,” Parr said.

Although the $7500 budget divided evenly between the 18 teams would equal $417 per team, this is not the reality. Because the budget also goes to fund things like referees for the various sports and athletic trainer supplies, each team receives less than the $417.

The budget restricts teams’ ability to purchase equipment to help their team succeed throughout the season. Some coaches think that if they were to have better training equipment, then they would perform better.

“We are funded well, but if we want nice things we have to fundraise,” varsity softball coach Mandi Corbin said.

The athletic budget is only sufficient for what sports need, which only includes the bare minimum, rather than covering everything to help a sport perform well. When looking at the budget, many coaches recognize that they are under-funded.

“It’s not like we have a ton of money, it doesn’t go a long way,” Corbin said.