School athletic programs cost more than students suspect

SEVIERS COSTLY PROGRAMS. John Sevier Middle School has various sports teams across the whole school year. Athletic programs at middle schools have a lot of different costs, from transportation to games, uniforms, safety equipment and even referees.

Michael Fanning

SEVIER’S COSTLY PROGRAMS. John Sevier Middle School has various sports teams across the whole school year. Athletic programs at middle schools have a lot of different costs, from transportation to games, uniforms, safety equipment and even referees.

Carlee Cradic, Staff Writer

John Sevier Middle School’s main purpose is to educate its students, but it also provides many extracurricular activities, such as the chess club, natural helpers, journalism and student council. Most of these activities are fairly cheap to maintain. Sevier’s athletic program, on the other hand, needs solid funding to be successful.

Marty Moore is the Athletic Director at Sevier Middle. This job comes with a lot of responsibilities and takes a lot of time.

“Some of the more important responsibilities are setting a budget for individual sports and managing the expenditures of each sport; keeping an updated physical list of all athletes in the school that try out for a sport; checking and maintaining the eligibility of all athletes through the TMSAA website [and] entering all of the rosters for every sport and the schedules for every sport into the TMSAA website,” Moore said.

He also maintains and updates the KCS Athletics website, helps with scheduling and rescheduling games, makes sure umpires and officials are scheduled for all games and matches, and schedules and runs all basketball tournaments that are held at Sevier.

His position also requires him to meet with all of the local ADs throughout the year to pass on information from the state and update them on any changes.

“It also requires me to go to Nashville twice a year to attend the State TMSAA meeting where we set rules and regulations for athletics state-wide,” Moore said.

School sports can be very expensive and cost a lot of money. At Sevier, the athletic program generally spends approximately $40,000 to $50,000 per year on everything that is required.

“That includes any purchases that are made, including basic items to run your sport throughout a season and uniforms when necessary, as well as catastrophic insurance, officials fees, transportation and workers at athletic contests among other things,” Moore said.

Each sport is given a “budgeted” amount out of the money provided by the city of Kingsport. That amount is used on necessary things to run the sport each season, such as balls and equipment.

“The amount going into each sport is determined by the necessity of each sport, the number of athletes in each sport, and most importantly the wear and tear on the equipment needed to run each sport,” Moore said. “For example, football helmets and uniforms take an enormous amount of wear and tear and have to be replaced consistently. By law, they have to be evaluated for problems and reconditioned or replaced consistently.”

In addition, ticket sales also help fund athletic programs.

“On top of that money, whatever ticket sales that we have from various sports are compiled and put into a different account to pay for officials, uniforms, and other ‘big ticket’ items that aren’t needed annually,” Moore said.

Some sports are more expensive than others. The most expensive sports at Sevier are the boys and girls basketball teams.

“The largest expenses come from officials and transportation,” Moore said. “Boys and girls basketball both play 10 to 12 away games, so transportation gets very expensive. The officials are over $100 per game, as well.”

With costs going up, ticket sales are an important part of the funding for sports teams.

“Officials fees have grown exponentially over the years and can run from $100 to $200 per contest,” Moore said. “With the number of games we have a year, that adds up in a hurry. There are many games where there aren’t enough paying spectators in attendance to cover the costs.”

Certain laws can affect how budgeted money must be spent, such as Title IX. It states no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

“The only effect it has on athletic budgets is that sports, like boys and girls basketball, should receive the same funding and support,” Moore said.

The biggest need for Sevier’s athletic program is actually space.

“Having coached baseball at Sevier for 14 years, without a doubt the biggest need at Sevier is a consistent home field in baseball that is usable on a daily basis,” Moore said. “Sevier has a softball field on school grounds that is shared with the softball team and the track teams that are doing field events beyond the outfield fence. When softball starts playing games, both Sevier and Robinson play their games at Sevier, often giving our baseball team nowhere to go. While there are multiple fields sitting idle around the city, Sevier often struggles to find somewhere to go on a daily basis.”

Moore sees an exciting future for the Sevier athletic program, if money is spent wisely to get facilities and the Sullivan North building ready for middle school students. Sevier Middle is set to move to this building in a couple of years.

“The biggest plus of Sevier’s impending move to the Sullivan North campus is the space and facilities they have, if the City will properly prepare and make them usable as we hope they will,” Moore said. “Once the move happens, the current North campus has their own football field and stadium, baseball field, softball field, tennis courts, soccer field, and cross country course. There is going to be a large amount of work necessary to bring them up to City Schools standards but if the money is used, it could be a great place.”