Budget & Finance

Districts Get Creative to Avoid Charging Pay-to-Play Fees

By Bryan Toporek — August 22, 2011 1 min read

With schools struggling to stay afloat during an onslaught of budget cuts, a number of them have started making student-athletes and their families pay to participate in K-12 sports.

Let’s face it: School sports aren’t cheap. Schools have to deal with equipment costs; maintenance of fields, courts, and rinks; coaches’ salaries; and all sorts of medical considerations to be made for student-athletes.

So, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to find out that 33 states have at least one school charging pay-to-play fees, according to a 2009 survey

by the National Federation of State High School Associations.

But some schools are making the most out of their lot, even in these trying times. Let’s walk through a few of the more popular ways that schools are avoiding having to charge their students pay-to-play fees.

Sponsorships: In a recent survey

, 57 percent of roughly 360 schools said they accepted corporate money to keep K-12 sports programs afloat.

The National Survey of Interscholastic Sport Sponsorship in the United States, published online earlier this year in the

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.