Athletic fees skyrocket-as much as 95 percent increase

By Noah Rivkin
Published: April 2011
As a result of the slumping American economy, schools across the country have been forced to make deep budget cuts and hike fees. South is no exception. South athletes will have to pay an increased fee in order to compete in next year’s sports seasons. High school athletics fees are slated to rise from $210 to $300 per sport with a $900 family cap. Some sports, like hockey, will also rise from $260 to $400 and football will see a 95 percent increase from $210 to $400.
“I would probably still play with such high fees, but the increase is a little upsetting. And next year there’ll be me, my brother, and my sister at South, and together we play a total of seven sports. So we’ll hit the cap pretty early. The increase won’t affect us as badly as they could’ve, but it’s still pretty ridiculous,” Hockey and Lacrosse player Brandon Kee said.
When Ted Dalicandro, the Head Football Coach, started coaching at South, the athletics fee was $125.
“I can understand why they might have to raise user fees to compensate for the budget; we still have a much lower user fee than some other schools in the Dual County League,” sophomore lineman Lucian Cascino said. “What does bother me, however, is that not all of the school’s sports had an equal increase in fees. That just isn’t fair.”
Football Captain and senior Brandon Caldwell also doesn’t agree with the new budget’s fees. “I think it’s ridiculous for kids to have to pay that much money to play a sport. I know many teams that already have far less kids than Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School or Acton-Boxborough Regional High School because of [increased fees]. It’s only going to put South teams at a disadvantage,” he said.

Dalicandro takes the fee hikes one step further. “I trust the people above me, but I’m upset. It’s fair to say that the demographic of the football players is different. This will affect those players whose families don’t have as much income. And I hope it doesn’t stop people from playing but [chances are it will],” he said. “If the fee increase was for, say a sport like tennis then it may not be as heavy of an effect because the demographics are different. It’s a fact.”

Dalicandro also has a budget solution he’d like to propose. To help cover the gap for athletics, Dalicandro suggests cutting middle school sports as opposed to high school ones. He sees the middle school athletics program as just an expensive “babysitting program.” The practices “aren’t legitimate, and there are many leagues outside of school that are [cheaper and train the kids better],” he said.

Attacking high school sports instead of middle school sports with fee-hikes seems ludicrous in Dalicandro’s eyes. “High school is much more competitive, with more riding on the line. There are kids looking for scholarships, and overall changing middle school programs would be much smarter,” he said. “If anything, I see most of my best kids come from leagues outside of school as opposed to the middle schools.”

Dalicandro remembers what South’s football program was when he started. There were barely 30 kids on the team and that wasn’t sufficient. Due to illness and injuries the team needed more players and with hard work Dalicandro, gained 20 more. He doesn’t want to see it go back to previous conditions, especially because of something like a budget.

Volleyball player Ashan Singh had a slightly different opinion on the matter. “To be honest, ultimately, I don’t think the raised sports fees will have a significant effect on the overwhelming majority of South’s athletes, however, it’s sort of ridiculous that the fee never really seems to stop growing. How much is it going to be?” he said.

Hockey and baseball player Dan Fitzpatrick agrees with Singh, “I’ll play the sports because I love them, but the [increases] are pretty outrageous,” Fitzpatrick said.

“I hope other people will play despite the fees, otherwise, the school might miss out on some serious athletic talent,” Kee said.

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