STILLWATER, Okla. — Who should pay?
The editorial titled, “Is paying to play next budget move?” in the Sept. 7 NewsPress got my attention The basic premise is should athletes have to help defray the cost of their extracurricular activities? Simply answer: Yes. Now here is why.
Athletics is not an entitlement. It is a choice. We need to begin to think in terms of all people having talent and support all students. Other extracurricular activities have required fees associated with participation - FFA, 4-H, art, drama music all have fees that are required.
Let’s look at the costs incurred by those students who choose extracurricular band or orchestra. First the orchestra or band students - or their family - is expected to provide an instrument that may cost between $300 and $3,000, rental or purchase, proper concert attire - special skirt or trousers, blouse or shirt, cummerbund and or tie, socks or hosiery shoes or for the band uniform cleaning fee of $25 to $50 yearly, transportation to each concert if not at their home school - they don’t always ride the bus like athletes. That typically causes the families of students who choose music over athletes to pay out between $200 and $1,000 per school year. While athletes pay nothing, they get their uniforms including cleaning, pads, shoes, helmets and transportation for free but the reality is all other students in the school carry the burden of the athletes’ costs by paying for their chosen extracurricular activity while student athletes get a free ride. Studies have shown that students in music are better at math and reading. The only thing associated with students in athletics is an attitude of entitlement and we’re athletes and can do no wrong or if we do have a problem the fact we are athletes will get the problem overlooked.
That all said, if the parents of the athletes want to organize a booster club to help all of the athletes defray the costs of participation by holding bake sales or car washes or sell candy or sponsor bingo events to help fund the athletes’ participation then they should.
Right now the other extracurricular activities are expected to do that. End the belief in entitlement of the athletic departments and the student athletes and let them work for the chance to participate in athletics.
We hear a lot of times about the athletes getting dropped charges or reduced sentences because they are athletes. That comes from their sense of entitlement, not from working to earn something they can be proud of.