CAMPBELL COUNTY, Ky. (FOX19) - School sporting events are back in full swing in Kentucky, but districts are still being forced to make some adjustments to keep students safe during the pandemic. Those adjustments are causing some athletic budgets to take a hit.
The cheering crowd during Tuesday night’s volleyball game between the Dayton (Ky.) Greendevils and Ludlow High School was music to the ears of many who have been waiting for school sports to make their return.
“They just keep plugging away. They’re like, ‘Let’s get to the next, let’s get to the next game.’ They’re on fire to just get what we can while we got it,” Dayton High School Athletic Director Barbie Lukens said.
It’s been about a month since Kentucky schools were given the green light to continue games. Lukens explains each game comes with its own set of challenges.
“It’s been really difficult, because we’ve had to break up in smaller groups, which means more coaches, more time, more equipment," she said. "So we just had to take what resources we’ve had and spread them even thinner than we’ve had to before.”
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the school has had to cut back on travel, length of games and the number of fans. Lukens says the volleyball team lost a third of their season, cutting 36 games to 24, and their football games are taking a hit too.
“We’re probably at a third of the capacity we can have for football games, and even when we’re not having a successful year, football carries everything," she said. "This year we’re 4-0 and we can only have 200 people in the stands. That can single-handedly fund our program for the whole year.”
In a tough place, the school decided to lean on the community for help by starting a fundraiser. The goal was to raise $2,020, and so far that amount has nearly tripled.
“We just threw this out there, and it just, like, skyrocketed into something I couldn’t even imagined. It seems every time you turn around, someone who has been a Greendevil, has loved a Dayton Greendevil is just happy, is just happy to help us in a time of need. It’s just awesome,” said Lukens.
All the money raised will go towards uniforms, tournament fees and any other expenses that come along to help take the burden off of families.