Who gets how much? How athletics funding works

The feeling of joy when the star player scores the winning goal is something an athlete never forgets. The crowd jumps up and no one can pick out a single sound because they all come together in the final moments. What would result if that couldn’t happen anymore? No more blasting buzzers telling the crowd it was all over, no MVPs, no feet stomping on the bleachers. Funding behind the scenes is what makes all sports and their excitement possible.

Where does all of the funding come from? Who decides which sport is more expensive or which sport deserves more funding? Athletic director Jason Amy said that there are a few different things that one must understand about the procedures of funding sports.

“We try to work together to raise money for each program, and each coach is individually in charge of trying to generate money for their program,” said Amy.

According to Amy, the cost of running all of the sports for Northwood costs slightly over $100,000 per year.

To pay this fee, different organizations are needed, and the money does not come from one concrete place.

“We have a general athletic booster club. For some of our bigger sports, like baseball and football, we have separate booster clubs that try to raise a little extra money for those sports,” said Amy.

Football coach Bill Hall said that football funding comes from three main sources.

“[The] Northwood athletic department funds what they can, and that’s mostly travel, lights, the reconditioning of our equipment and a few other odds and ends. The school’s athletics booster club is the second part,” said Hall. “Then we have the Friday Football Foundation (the football booster club) and they basically do everything else like our homecoming jerseys…we do a lot of fundraising with the Friday Football Foundation.”

Much of athletics funding also comes from grants and working with the PTSA through thrift shop hours.

Although some question why there is a gate charge to attend athletic events, Amy says this money is critical to cover basic costs.

“Typically, if there is an official, then we try to raise money to pay for the official and the referee. We have to charge for that,” said Amy.

Lacrosse coach Kevin McDaniel added that an admission cost helps to run the lights and pay for maintenance. According to Amy, football has the highest admission cost, $6 as compared to the $5 charge of other sports, simply because there are more officials.

In many districts, there is a fee to be on a team. According to principal Chris Blice, many schools are forced to do this because of high transportation costs.

McDaniel works to make sure his team isn’t subject to fees to play a sport.

“My goal is to make sure that [the athletes] have to supply cleats and a mouth guard. That is what I have been trying to do for the two years I have been coaching,” said McDaniel, whose lacrosse team recently switched from a club to a varsity team, allowing him to acquire money from the athletic boosters rather than the self-funding of most clubs. “You would have to charge a player more often for a club sport; athletic boosters won’t provide as much.”

McDaniel believes that sports are very important to Northwood and no kid should be left out of them because they do not have enough money. Even if a sport’s funding is threatened, the students should not have to fund it.

“There should be no reason a sport gets cut through any budget crisis, and no kid should have to pay to play,” said McDaniel.


— By Michaela Johnson