Sports funding: fake or fair

With limited funding for sports, administrators do their best to divide the budget evenly

Morgan Brazier, Staff Writer

Robinson is one of 27 high schools in Hillsborough County that shares a set budget. Of this money, Robinson receives $13,000 to divide among all sports. (All data is taken from the Hillsborough County Public Schools Athletics Department & Inventory Control Sheet for Robinson Athletics 2017-18 )

Most students and parents don’t know how this money is split between all of the sports and, more importantly, whether or not this division of money is fair.

Niki Lockett, assistant principal for administration and director of athletics, said that every year a list is sent out to coaches detailing all of the uniforms and equipment that is available to the school and the coaches then send back a list of what they need for the upcoming school year.

“I make it even amongst all the sports and then where they didn’t get something, we try to come up with a plan to try to get it for them, i.e. they fundraise, donations, stuff like that,” Lockett said.

Previous track and field and current soccer coach, Manuel Montero, affirmed that the schools funding is split up “fairly” considering the amount the school is given. However, not all sports get as much funding as they may need, in respect to the specific and differing expenses.

“It just depends on your sport. If your sport’s a high-money sport, you tend to get high-money [equipment] because it’s needed, so it’s as fair as it can be although it leaves some sports out in the cold,” Montero said.

As a result, a sport such as football that requires a larger amount of financial help for the extent of gear required may get more money than a sport like cross country or track. Not only does cross country have fewer participation expenses, it also rakes in less money in ticket revenue than a sport like football.

On the other hand, some people, including tennis player Alivia Teplin (’20), feel that the school does not split the money up evenly.

“The tennis team doesn’t really get any money. We have to pay for our own dresses for the school year and we also get the same jerseys that we’ve had for the past four years,” Teplin said. “We’re kind of forgotten about at school.”

Lacrosse is another sport that struggles with funding. Lacrosse player Kelsey Campbell (’19) said. “We have to take ourselves to games…our gear [and] our uniforms we pay for ourselves, everything for us is out of pocket… we can’t do anything because we don’t have that funding and we don’t have that money.”

To help make up for any lack of funding, sports are allowed to fundraise on their own which gives some sports a considerably larger amount of spending money than others.

However, Hillsborough County does have specific restrictions to help regulate fundraising. Sports are not allowed to solicit money through any online programs. Instead, sports are expected to hold spirit nights or car washes to raise money.

Montero said, “The main issue here is how large our budget is and our budget isn’t very large.”