Sports Funding Proves to be Hot Button Issue
by Jacob Bogage ’12
December 1, 2011
The following article came from a special spread I designed entitled “The Cost of Sherwood Sports.” This was the lead article for the spread.
27 sports, 1 team. That used to be the mantra of University of Maryland (UMD) athletics. But after Athletic Director Kevin Anderson cut two sports in the last two years and University President Wallace Loh pledged to cut eight more on November 21 to counter a $4.7 million budget deficit, the “1 team” attitude is not looking too good.
Though Sherwood has not run into athletic financial woes (in fact the athletic department was $57,000 in the black after last fiscal year), the cost of athletics at the Sandy Spring school has long been a hot topic.
A winner of five team state championships and dozens of individual titles in the last four years, Sherwood spent more than $218,000 on athletics last year alone, around 30 percent of the school’s $739,000 Independent Activity budget.
To ease the cost on the athletic department, it also receives approximately $40,000 in funds from the Warrior Club, Sherwood’s athletic booster club, as well as another $38,000 from MCPS.
Where this money should go, however, is a constant subject of debate. Last year $35,000 of it went to the football program, the largest single expenditure listed in the athletics budget. The next highest was field preparation costing just over $34,000, much of it going to repair the grass on Caruso Memorial Field, including $17,000, almost half of the Warrior Club’s $40,000 donation.
Though the athletics budget is seemingly large, the numbers at Sherwood correspond with other schools’ around the county and between costly field repairs and equipment, uniform and other costs, the Sherwood athletic department cannot buy everything on its wish list. That’s where the Warrior club steps in.
Club president Tony Ryan offers the softball team’s new batting cages as an example of the club’s fundraising process. Coaches approached Athletic Director Kathy Green with a $1,700 proposal for the facilities that was not budgeted for, so the offer was kicked to the Warrior Club which passed the proposal in October.
“$1,700 is not a small number, but it fits. It fits in our $40,000 budget,” Ryan said. “That’s a pretty average number for us.”
As Caruso Memorial Field undergoes renovations over the summer, the club is also contemplating funding renovations of its own. “What we’ll do in the spring is take a look at what that plan is and what it will address, and then we may do a little brainstorming to see what kind of things we could do at the same time, cost-effectively,” he added.
The Warrior Club acts as the department’s top fundraising partner since high school sports cannot sustain Sherwood’s budget the way ticket sales and TV revenue do for UMD. Poor game attendance and a lack of booster support eventually did in the Terps’ athletic finances, something avoidable at Sherwood with the Warrior Club’s aid.