Fall athletic enrollment at Mt. Vernon High School has increased in every sport, thanks to athletes not having to “Pay-to-Participate” with the previous $225 fee per sport. Fall sports’ total participation has increased 20 percent with 43 additional athletes.
The recent success in all Mt. Vernon’s fall sports may be attributed to the larger number of athletes participating; the larger pool of athletes to choose from would support that theory. However, history shows most Mt. Vernon athletic teams frequently have winning records. As of 9/16/2015, nearly all fall sports have winning records: cross country’s combined records is 36-27 and has placed in top 4 teams at multi-school meets, boys’ soccer is 10-2, girls’ soccer has a 6-4-(1 tie) record, boys’ tennis is on a streak with 7-0, football is 2-2 and predicted to win Friday, volleyball is 7-2, and girls’ golf also has a strong winning record with 5-0 and placed in top 3 at all but one multi-school events.
Cross country experienced the largest increase from 30 runners in 2014 to the current 47 athletes, a 57% increase. Bruce Kendall, boys cross country coach, states, “We are overwhelmingly pleased with the increase in the numbers of our cross country athletes. We have surpassed the number of athletes we had before Pay-to-Participate. It has been really pleasing to see so many seniors who came out who never had the chance to compete.”
Girls’ golf added two players, football has eight additional students in uniform, and boys’ and girls’ soccer has four and one additional player(s), respectively. Boys’ tennis added five to their roster, cheerleading added one student and volleyball added five players and their first freshman team in years.
“We expect athletic participation to have a similar increase in winter and spring which will generate more two and three-sport athletes this year,” states Brandon Ecker, Mt. Vernon High School’s Athletic Director. “There is no coincidence that participation in every sport increased with the $225 fee being removed; it is safe to say it is a direct relation. We are pleased we can offer athletic opportunities to all students without finances being part of the commitment decision.”
Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation (MVCSC) anticipates generating the lost revenue from the “Pay-to-Participate” program through new facility rentals and sponsorships. With the district currently in a secure financial state, MVCSC is pleased to be able to offer all opportunities for student growth without a financial burden to the student’s family. Providing this opportunity to students fits right into one of MVCSC’s objectives: “to offer a variety of extra-curricular and co-curricular opportunities at each school addressing student interest and provide life skills and lessons that focus on competition, teamwork, leadership, and character development.”