South Eugene High School spends $70,000 on sports each year, according to the South Finance Office, and yet sports teams are somehow still scrambling for funds. This causes stress for teams, and friction between teams with uneven funding.
“Most of the time we don’t have time to fundraise, so we have to pull money from our own pockets, which is fine. But the school should be supporting us,” said South junior Hannah Nute, member of the varsity tennis team.
Moreover, the amount of money each sport gets is not equal, ranging from $350 for tennis, to $7,175 for football. So how does the money get distributed?
“There are different tiers of sports,” South Athletic Director Dave Hancock said. “Tier 1 sports are OSAA [Oregon School Activities Association] sports. OSAA is our governing body, and they sponsor 18 different sports. Tier 1 sports get some district money to help the sport — they get a head coach and a second/ junior varsity coach.”
South can only fund 14 sports, which causes confusion. The rest are considered “club sports” and get money from neither South nor the district. Because so many second tier sports are popping up, along with funding cuts, South has no money to give. Instead, the district agreed that all second tier sports could use school facilities and the school’s name. This tradeoff is necessary to the survival of all sports as they compete for funding.
And many OSAA sports are also struggling to get enough money.
“It used to be that kids in OSAA sports didn’t have to pay for anything. Now every kid who is in a sport pays,” Hancock said.
The variations in funding for the Tier 1 sports comes down to necessity.
“I know what races cross country is going to, for instance. I will calculate how much [money] they need and put it in their entry fees account,” Hancock said. Using his knowledge about how much equipment and entry fees each sports team will need for the year, Hancock allocates funds accordingly.
These discrepancies can cause friction in the South sports community as sports with less funds envy those with more. Limited discussion has left students in the dark, without enough information to make judgements about funding; yet they make those judgements anyway. If everyone understood how the money was allocated, maybe sports teams wouldn’t resent one another or the school.