After realizing the ROI of their children’s participation is likely to outweigh these significant costs, parents are continuing to pay school sports participation fees. In fact, by participating in school athletics, their children will become more likely to continue their education after high school and earn higher wages over their careers.
Cost of School Athletics are Increasing
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The cost of having your children participate in school athletics has increased steadily over the years. Even if it is an additional expense on the household budget, parents still pay for school parts participation fees and other fees that go with it. One of the main reasons, according to experts, is the expected Return Of Investment (ROI) in such activities.
Studies show that children who are involved in school athletics are more likely to attend tertiary school and are even more likely to earn higher wages than their peers who never participated in sports activities while in school.
Even though participation fees in high school sports can take a toll on parents, the number of participants has seen an increase in the last 26 years. In 2015, there were 7, 807, 047 high school students who participated in school sports. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), this record from 2015 is 11, 389 higher as compared to the previous year. Over 3 million girls participated in school sports in the year 2015 while the boys comprised 57.88% of the total.
High school girls participated in a number of sports activities but statistics show that females have a few favorites. Among their top choices include track and field with a total of 478, 726 participants on the national level, volleyball at 432, 176, basketball with a total of 429, 504 participants followed by soccer and fast-pitch softball at 375, 681 and 364, 103 respectively.
The top five favorite high school sports for boys include 11-player football with a total of 1, 083, 617 participants, track and field with 578, 632 participants, basketball at 541, 479, followed by baseball and soccer at 486, 567 and 432, 569 respectively.
The Cost of High School Athletics
But what is the cost of high school athletics? How much do parents have to shell out for their children to be able to join in team sports on a yearly basis?
Interscholastic sports is a big industry with an income of $5 billion a year. In the United States, parents spend $671 per child annually. This price tag covers registration fees, uniforms, lessons, and coaching. Some parents spend more with two out of 10 parents spending over $1, 000 annually on school sports.
While the growth of participation in school sports has seen a steady increase in the past two decades, some families cannot afford the costs of school sports. Of families with children ages 12 to 17, only 42% had at least one child who participated in sports activities during the school year 2014-2015. Fifty-eight percent weren’t able to with 14% saying that this abstinence in sports was due to the high fees for participation.
According to the University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, 51% of families with an annual household income of $60, 000 or more can afford to have their children participate in high school sports while only 30% of students with a household income of less than $60, 000 were able to participate in such activities. The rest just stood on the sidelines because their household incomes cannot be stretched to accommodate sports-related expenses.
Participation fees are often deemed as the culprit but it is a good idea to break this down.
On average, participation fees cost $126 per child but 18% of those who participate in high school sports pay $200 or more. It is interesting to note though that 38% of students do not pay participation fees at all. In addition to participation fees, parents pay around $275 for sports-related equipment and travel but this can be higher and often depends on the type of sports the child is involved in. The average total cost per child, based on the computation, is $400 — a rather high cost that many families cannot afford.
Expensive Interscholastic Sports Equipment
Costs also depend on what type of sports activity your child decides to go into. Baseball, for example, can be quite costly. Bats are pricey and families would have to buy other baseball gear too. The average cost for baseball equipment is $615.
Ice hockey comes as a close second at $595. Parents would need to shell out $595 to get basic equipment for their child. Additional money would be needed for protection gear such as helmets, shoulder pads, and elbow pads as well.
Football equipment costs are at $595 too like in ice hockey while Boys’ Lacrosse equipment costs $565. Field Hockey, on the other hand, would require $275 for hockey sticks and goggles.
School Athletics ROI
Although school athletics is costly, parents still do their best to have their children participate in school sports. The question is, why?
As mentioned in the previous graphic, student athletes are twice as likely to go to college and are more likely to be employed in better jobs. They are also more likely to earn higher wages than their peers who never did sports in school.
The benefits of participating in high school sports extend into adulthood and this can be seen in future schooling and future careers.
How are sports helping children build a better future for themselves?
Experts say that student-athletes usually have considerably higher self-respect, self-confidence, and have better leadership skills. And this lasts a lifetime since its effects can still be seen fifty years after high school graduation.
Forty-three percent of males who were on the varsity team in high school have better pay fifty years after graduation while females reap greater benefits.
Statistics show that 67% of females who once participated in sports while in school now occupy high-level executive positions. In fact, seventy-two percent of females who joined scholastic sports activities agree that those who have participated in sports in high school know how to participate at work effectively while 76% say that their involvement in sports activities enhanced their adopting behaviors and techniques. This later helped them in the corporate world.
For parents who are unsure if they should spend on school sports activities, it is a good idea to take the statistics stated above to heart.
Ohio University’s Online Master of Athletic Administration program specializes in developing interscholastic Athletic Directors, building on the students’ passion for serving young student-athletes and running a highly-successful athletic department. Ohio University is a pioneer in sports education. By establishing the first academic program in the field of sports administration, this online program is recognized today as the premier professional training program for candidates seeking careers in the sports industry.