Giving students at CHS the opportunity to compete in sports isn’t always as easy as trying out and making the team. For many, overwhelming equipment costs or dues can get in the way of playing the game.
While parents of CHS students often have the resources needed to cover any expenses required to play high school sports, some activities prove more costly than others. This can be especially problematic for sports not sanctioned by the school.
“Hockey is an expensive game to play itself and we’d be better off funded by the school.” Jack Donnelly, Icehounds Gold defender and senior, said, “That’s why we hold onto uniforms for all four years. That eliminates the cost of buying a new one every year. Other apparel also adds in to cost but we try to get most expenses out of the way in freshman year.”
However, hockey is an outlier among other high school sports locally. As one of the few sports that is not sanctioned by the high school, it does not benefit from the IHSAA’s regulations on how much money returns to the program.
“I absolutely believe we would benefit from being sanctioned through the school but our club status leaves a lot of control to the board, made up by parents and coaches,” Donnelly said.
For the vast majority of high school athletes, their sports are supported by the school and their funding regulated by the IHSAA. These teams benefit by receiving profits earned after splitting funds among other competing schools, especially in tournament play when revenue increases.
“It has always been the goal of the IHSAA to compensate our member schools substantially for their voluntary membership in the association.” IHSAA assistant commissioner Sandra Walter said, “We feel an obligation to continue to provide for our schools in order for them to continue to provide for their student athletes.”
According to the organization, 98 percent of revenues generated is returned to participating schools.
For sports not associated with the IHSAA, however, significantly less profit is directed back to the athletic program, and this leaves some athletes at a disadvantage.
“If lacrosse became a sanctioned sport, we could get more money for our sport and be noticed around our school.” lacrosse player Kelly Csenar said, “We wouldn’t have to pay for reps, fields, or a trainer. We would also get our uniforms handed to us. We wouldn’t have to pay for them.”
Often, the status of a sport is reliant on the amount of infrastructure needed to maintain competition. This is why it is unlikely CHS will soon invest in building a new ice rink or lacrosse field.
“The school should sanction lacrosse and all other club sports, and they should fund club sports,” Csenar said, “because we work just as hard as other sports.”