Pay-to-play Sports

October 3, 2011
By Anonymous

Your hands are sweaty. You check to make sure your receivers are ready, and “Hike!” The play is off and the clock starts. You watch as your receivers try to get open, but the entire defense is back for the Hail Mary throw. You see a man open and just as you let the ball fly out of your hands; you can feel that reappearing sense that it is all too soon coming to an end. All of a sudden, “Beep, Beep, Beep!” your alarm clock goes off and you know that your game is over. You will not get a second chance. You are a 16 year old kid who does not have much money, and cannot afford to play sports, because your school has pay-to-play sports. Now how would you feel if you were that kid that loves football and cannot even afford to play it? High schools across America are putting the pay-to-play fee into effect. So eliminate the pay-to-play fees because it is unfair, declines the number of kids participating, and goes against public school policies.

Playing sports is a privilege to wealthier students who attend schools that charge fees. It is unfair to students who cannot afford the expenditure, but it is also unfair to all supporters of that high school. Phil Curtin, the former football coach at Oakmont Regional High School in Massachusetts said, “Oakmont was 8-3 in 2000 with 50 players. The team’s record slipped to 4-7 and 3-8 in the next two seasons as the number of players dwindled to half” (USA). No matter what we do, there will continue to be fees unless we stand up for the children and take charge of our schools.

Participating in extra-curricular activities is a big factor in the overall education of a child. Calvin Davis said, “You would see it affect attendance, grade-point average, discipline referrals would be up, and the drop-out rate would increase. We would lose half our kids” (USA). USA TODAY surveyed state high school sports associations, and found that 34 states in which at least one district in the association is charging students to pay-to-play. That adds up to millions upon millions of kids who don’t get to participate in high school and middle school sports. Also, if students don’t get the community backing they feel they deserve, they will ask themselves if it is worth paying the money to participate in the program. When fees are small, the student involvement doesn’t decline that much, but when prices reach excessive amounts, the number of students participating drops by about a third. Students everywhere are desperately wishing fees away, but they will have no such luck.

California has outlawed all charging of fees for any sports. The fees go against the state constitution’s promise to deliver free public schooling to students. Sen. Alan Lowenthal said, “Free schools should remain at the heart of our democracy” (Calif.). The state felt that educational opportunities should be presented to all students regardless of the family’s ability to pay. Free public schooling should not only include the education part of it, but the extracurricular activities as well.

Pay-to-play sports are terrible reasons for kids to be inactive. Kids deserve rights for education both in and out of the classrooms that doesn’t cost. Children are expected to stay active and healthy, but yet, we charge them to play sports that would help keep them moving. How would you like to be that kid that has to dream about football because he can’t play it at his school? A position on a team should not be purchased. Lack of funds should not prohibit the gifted child from playing on the team. Extracurricular activity positions should be earned through hard work and dedication, not by a fat wallet. Protect children’s rights, keep them interested in going to school, keep children healthy, and help dispose of pay-to-play sports.

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