If one listens closely, they should be able to hear the cheers from the homes of Mt. Vernon student athletes. Beginning fall of 2015, Mt. Vernon Schools will no longer require the high school athletes to pay a $225 pay-to-participate fee and middle school students to pay the $100 fee. High school and middle school clubs will no longer pay the $25 fee, and elementary clubs will no longer pay $15.
The approximate $190,000 lost revenue from pay-to-participate will be replaced through new sources of athletic income. The new plans include renting the schools’ facilities to sports organizations for tournaments, acquiring sponsorships, creating corporate partnerships, and retaining additional concessions revenue.
Dr. Shane Robbins, Mt. Vernon Schools’ new Superintendent, states, “By eliminating the direct fee to athletes, all students will have the same opportunities, regardless of their financial state. We will replace the revenue with a wide variety of new income using our athletic facilities. Sports organizations, corporations and local support will sustain the income to justify the school board’s decision to eliminate the pay-to-participate program. I am pleased all students will have additional opportunities for growth through participating on multiple teams without the financial burden.”
With the former $225 fee per high school sport, multiple sport athletes were paying up to $675 per year in pay-to-participate fees. The pay-to-participate fees were necessary due to former financial burdens. Removing this fee should encourage student athletes to participate in multiple sports. Studies show that there are physical gains for multi-sport athletes, including prevention of overuse injuries as students use a larger variety of muscles.
The high school and the middle school had athletic subsidy programs to aid student athletes with financial constraints. Both schools’ athletic departments made it their mission to find a way to provide the pay-to-participate fee for financially-challenged athletes, as they did not want any athlete to be denied due to finances. All pay-to-participate fees had to be paid by either the subsidy or the athlete; no fees were reduced without the subsidy replacing the reduction. The high school frequently ran out of athletic subsidy money prior to the end of the year, and the middle school athletic subsidy account had been running low.