The Price to Play: Part I

Each day students wrestle with the ups and downs of high school life while school districts wrangle over the costs of supporting high school athletics.

Margie York, the athletic director at Thomasville High, says, "Budget nine years ago, same as today. Officials gone up, equipment has gone up, everything has gone up."

In Georgia, the state doesn't give any money to fund athletic activities, which means in Thomasville, football ticket sales fund all other sports.

Director of Operations for Thomasville City Schools Brian Jetter says in the past football gate receipts have generated roughly $80,000 each year.

Brian says, "Neighborhood of $80,000, you have to run football, swimming right on down the line."

Ticket sales only cover basic needs like equipment, uniforms and balls, not to mention game day security and referees. The extras are up to the players.

Ed Pilcher, Thomasville High football coach, says, "Cover everything in football, basketball half on shoes, baseball buy their own gloves, things they are going to keep."

Sometimes the "must haves" can cost parents a pretty penny and the athlete a spot on the team.

Margie York says, "A kid with a hardship, provide what they need, set them up on a payment plan, whatever they need."

Some parents say it’s not a hit to the wallet that stings the most.

Roger King, a parent, says, "Not as much as you spend, but what you don't get to do, have to reschedule life."

Reshuffling may cost you time, but parents say seeing students succeed is priceless. About two years ago, Thomasville City Schools increased ticket prices for sporting events to cover the rising costs of running the athletic programs.

Friday, we'll look at the price to play in Leon County.


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