Cost of keeping athletes safe, equipment budget important

Erica Beebe

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Students often overlook how much time and resources and money go into high school sports. Each sport has a different cost, some more than others, but all are equally important. Athletic Director Brian Becker is responsible for replacing old equipment each year and obtaining what each sport needs.

“Uniforms have about a five to six year rotation, so every five or six years for the varsity level sports we try to replace old uniforms and we kind of have a rotation so that we don’t replace all the sports uniforms in one year. For example, football helmets and pads have a certain life cycle. Typically a normal football lifespan is 10 years, so without a doubt we have to replace those helmets every ten years. Each year we try to buy a certain number of new shoulder pads and equipment to replace the ones lost,” Becker said.

When it comes to equipment like football helmets and pads, replacement is a must. It comes down to the safety of the players using the equipment. Non-contact athletes are not as in danger from faulty equipment, but new equipment is just as important.

“When it comes to different sports- any sport that uses a ball- we try to buy 5-10 new balls each year so they can just have some new ones and throw out the ones that aren’t working anymore. For baseball and softball we have to buy new balls each year and we have to buy a lot of them because they use a lot. The rest of the equipment; things like basketball goals or volleyball nets, we just replace those when they need to be replaced, as they age and wear and break,” Becker said.
Functioning equipment is needed to keep the athletes safe. When buying new equipment for each individual sport at the high school, the cost racks up quickly. The high school focuses on purchasing the essentials for each sport and leaves the rest to the students and teachers.

“Sometimes coaches also buy extra equipment that isn’t a fundamental have to have thing but it helps them with their program. They’ll use the money that you guys as students raise to buy those types of things. Not every team has to fundraise but they choose to get extra things like warm up clothes or team t-shirts or food for meets. The big core equipment things, teams do not have to fundraise for that. We use the athletic budget money from gate-receipts and entry fees,” Becker said.

Students host bake sales, sell team posters, lollipops or coupons for local stores for a reason. The money students fundraise goes straight back to their sport, and they can use it for anything they want. The school pays for the big ticket items, and students and coaches pay for extra items on their wish list. Most of the sports have the same budget, but the budgets depend on the success of the team each season. For example, if the volleyball team kept winning tournaments and continue to advance, more and more money would have to be spent to provide transportation.

“Every year we’re naturally going to spend more money on football because we have more kids involved and more equipment. Sports like golf and tennis and swimming are fairly low cost sports because, really, you just have to pay for the coaches and transportation to and from events. A lot of it has to do with how much the team travels and how many meets they go to in a year so the costs are pretty even for the most part but just different for football because there’s more kids,” Becker said.

Employees like Becker are in charge of coordinating sports. The high school can purchase most of the equipment needed for the sports, but students and coaches can also help raise money if desired. Costs of each sport can differentiate each year along with players and coaches, but the sports’ rules are always the same and equipment is always needed.