Lack of Facilities Tightens Sports Teams’ Budgets
Noah Pershing (‘23) in a baseball game. The baseball team is unusually well funded. / Credits: Lucy Upton
For a small school like Walls without any athletics facilities, it is particularly difficult to support multiple sports and provide each team with the funding they need. In order to raise more money, Walls athletic director Kip Smith said that “we are moving into a mandatory payment of $150 for our student-athletes.” These team dues will likely be implemented gradually over the course of the next year, with several teams beginning to require payments this spring season. The extra money will help teams obtain equipment, access transportation, and pay for coaches that are not covered by the DCIAA, including the soccer, lacrosse, ultimate frisbee, and conditioning coaches.
Even though athletics is the largest expense for the Home and School Association (HSA), at 24.8 percent of its total spending, many sports teams still do not have enough money. Walls faces a unique issue because, as Smith said, “We spend upward of 12-20k in the use of facilities. All of the funding is either obtained through fundraising and/or assistance by our HSA/Boosters.”
With so much money just going towards facilities, Smith said, “our teams have to do a better job of at least meeting [the HSA] halfway.” He went on to say that “teams (in general) have provided little to no effort in raising funds.” Although some teams have held bake sales and requested donations, these efforts have not been strong enough and can only go so far.
The School Without Walls baseball team, coached by Smith himself, is the perfect example of a well-funded team. Although the spring season only officially started this month, the team has already raised $13,800. On top of that, each member is required to pay team dues of $650. This money goes towards funding a lot of baseball gear (hoodies, shirts, and hats), a fall travel season of baseball, and a trip to Myrtle Beach over spring break.
Additionally, ultimate frisbee recently also implemented team dues at $125 per player. Similar to baseball, they are hoping this money will help them buy gear for players, such as jerseys, sweatpants, and discs, and participate in a New Jersey travel tournament later this spring.
“Our HSA has been working on a surplus since COVID, but we must be able to continue to provide financial supports that will better our programs with the disparities that we have in comparison to other schools,” Smith said. Hopefully the implementation of team dues in the future will encourage further fundraising and provide teams with the flexibility to access more resources and activities.