Is rising cost of high school sports worth it?


A young boy falls in love with basketball. He goes to the park everyday and practices and when his park district season comes around he’s the best one on his team. His coaches can’t wait to see what he’ll become. Then during summer, his friends start doing summer camps that he can’t afford. Next season, they return with new skills and new shoes. The boy works hard, but he struggles to keep up with his teammates because he is at a financial disadvantage. By the time he gets to high school, he discovers that he cannot afford the participation fee. His dreams are crushed, and he can no longer play basketball.

The inflation of sports’ costs has become a financial burden on families. This price increases because most families have multiple children whom play multiple sports. In preparation for high school, students athletes often participate in club teams and camps. The prices of these are generally expensive but vary depending on the sport and level. Interestingly enough, most parents continue to fund their children’s sports even though it is a financial burden. This could be because the benefits supposedly outweigh the cost. Sports teams are viewed as a major part of the “high school experience,” which parents do not want their child to miss out on.

“Fees cover a wide variety of thing,” said athletic director Jason Kuffel. “One big one is field rentals. A number of our sports practice and play off campus, so there are costs associated with those sports.”

The cost of high school sports has increased significantly. The entry fee varies depending on the sport. The fee becomes expensive quickly because it has to cover multiple separate categories such as transportation, uniforms, and equipment. As well, Saint Viator is responsible for paying their officials.

“There is no cost through Saint Viator to participate in hockey. It is all run through the club. We at Saint Viator support the team and players in every other way besides financially,” said Mr. Kuffel.

On average, hockey gear costs $595 just for basic equipment. This number becomes a lot higher when your skill and age increase. Many consider hockey to be one of the most expensive high school sports. Skates alone can average around $80. Sticks are around $200 on average. However, the most expensive ones can cost $300 and the cheapest ones are as low as $10. Players tend to have two at a time and they need frequent replacement. On top of that, shoulder and knee pads cost 80 dollars each. Hockey is also a dangerous sport and players are prone to injuries.

Concussions are the most common injury in hockey, followed by shoulder and knee injuries. Parents will then additionally have to cover medical bills and possibly physical therapy.

“The average player pays minimum $150 for the shoes, socks, and bag, but they can also buy spirit wear and other things which would raise the number,” said sophomore basketball player Kate Peterson.

The participation fee is $325. Basketball is not as expensive as a sport such as hockey since not much equipment is needed. This is a big part of the reason why basketball is so popular. Even though players do not have to spend much on equipment, there are often injuries that cause expenses. According to medical documents, over 200,000 occur to kids under the age of fifteen each year. The National Athletic Trainers Association did a study and found that on average two people per team are injured per season. Sprains are the most common type of injury.
Saint Viator also provides summer camps in which athletes participate in for preparation for their seasons. It is a great way to meet coaches and future teammates, but it comes at a price. The basketball summer camp cost up to $200 for grades nine through twelve. Wrestling camp costs up to $100. The cost of the camps provided is only the minimum. The athlete is responsible for paying for equipment

“I think the friendships you make on a team give you so much loving support and gives you a second family, which is well worth the cost,” said junior basketball player Elise Bollard. Athletes like the community that sports provide for them. The friendships they form make the price of the sport worth it.