Will pay to play increases make Lakota less competitive?


For Lakota parent Buddy Darlin who has two kids who play sports in the district, the increase in pay to play fees means $1650 out of his pocket.
At Monday's night's meeting the Lakota school board voted to increase Junior High pay to play fees from $200 to $350 and $300 to $550 at the high school level.
"For me if I look at this year over last year I think the cost was probably about $500 , and now for football it will go to $1100 [ including football fees] and if they play another sport, it will just be another $550 per student, so it hurts, everything hurts, gas prices and all," Darlin said.
Darlin fears the dramatic increase may force some parents to pull their kids out of sports, especially if they're on the second string and don't start.
"I think that families are going to have to look at paying $550 to have your son on a team where he's not playing a lot, and if he's going to pay a second sport where maybe that's his good sport, the may make the decision to just play one," Darlin said.
Lakota East Athletic Director Richard Bryant doesn't sugarcoat the issue, he says their sports programs will suffer because of the increase.
"You're looking at thousands of dollars for a family of three or four to participate in two or three sports each, I don't see how families can afford that and I think it will definitely impact our numbers in a negative way,"Bryant said.
While it is difficult to offer any sort of scholarships at the high school level, the athletic department says they will work with families to ease the burden.
"To provide assistance where needed, it has to be equitable across all sports to all student athletes, we will work to take away some of the burden to our families," Bryant said.
Administrators also believe team fundraising efforts will decrease the burden for families.
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