The Boom in High School and Collegiate Athletic Spending

    Posted by Ryan Wilby

    Sep 27, 2018 4:00:00 AM


    In recent years there has been an upswing in money spent on high school athletics programs as well as on training facilities. While in the past, sports as well as arts programs in schools were typically the departments to have budgets cut. However, in some areas, this is no longer necessarily the case.

    Athletic directors have worked diligently to fight for the attention and recognition that sports departments are now getting in some locations. Why? The coaches and directors are adamant that athletic programs make a significant impact on the educational development of youth. In sports, you must teach and encourage sportsmanship, teamwork, perseverance, fair play and self-care and these are the exact qualities and values that help youth understand the basics of being a good leader and understanding the importance of being cooperative with others. Athletics require scheduled practice times that are focused on specific goals within that practice time. For students who may be struggling academically, sports could be their outlet. Sports bring people together, even if it’s strictly from a conversation aspect.

    The bottom line is, athletics is a form of education for students and a way of teaching them good habits and positive attitudes with the hope that they will grow into successful, productive men and women.

    Furthermore, in order to develop these value-teaching lessons, the coaches must develop comprehensive training and practice plans. Of course, the hope is for the various teams to win, but it is the significance of teaching students to become competitive, play with excellence, develop skill and self-confidence and to respect teamwork and fairness. This can all be accomplished, not just in thecompetitive sports but also in coordinated physical education classes.

    State of the Art Training Facilities

    In an effort to demonstrate the implication of how high school athletics spending has evolved, Texas is home to several state-of-the-art high school football stadiums. In 2017, they unveiled the $70.3 million Katy’s Stadium, followed by a 2009 build that gained national recognition for a stadium that cost nearly $60 million to construct. Granted the high school that proudly owns it has a student enrollment of more than five thousand, but nonetheless, it was something at the time that was unheard of with all the budget cuts so commonly occurring throughout the nation. The athletic director’s comments when asked why, merely stated that it was built to meet the supply and demand. The previous stadium never had ample seating for fans and supporters, so they built to accommodate for that. Today, the community reaps benefits from tax dollars because of the fan base and ticket revenue that is generated.

    Improved Training Techniques

    In addition to the state of the art facilities, there has recently been more focus on the importance of working with high school athletes to teach proper strength and conditioning. This training prevents unnecessary injuries by helping students to learn their limitations and to train to improve weaknesses, making sports much safer and long lasting for the student athletes.

    Budget and Spending

    Athletic departmental budgets can vary greatly depending on the location. Some high schools put this department as a top priority, while others must take on a “Pay-to-Play” approach, which puts some of the financial burden on the parents. However, the communities that recognize the benefits derived from athletics as well as the revenue that can be generated, are typically the same areas who opt not to cut the sports departments.

    Ultimately, it’s all about education, whether the need is the educate the students or the decision makers at the top.


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    Topics: Professional Sports, Equipment Design, Industry, Fan Experience, Athletics


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