“It’s kind of a happy medium,” said Spring Lake athletic director Cavin Mohrhardt. “A lot of our athletes are two-sport athletes, so basically they’re paying $75 when they would have been paying $60. If they’re a three-sport athlete, they’re actually going to be paying less than what they were paying last year.
“It does handcuff the one-sport athletes, but with budget cuts, it’s something we’ve had to do to keep all of our programs.”
Mohrhardt noted that in his extensive conversations with other area athletic directors, it’s become apparent that several schools are going to be dropping teams — especially at the freshmen level — for the coming school year.
The money collected doesn’t go toward one specific expenditure.
“The money goes back into our general fund,” he said.
At Spring Lake last year, a total of 547 kids — 276 boys and 271 girls — played at least one sport. That works out to nearly 60 percent of the school’s population.
Mohrhardt stressed that the last thing he wants is for a student not to play sports because of the pay-to-play fee.
“At Spring Lake, we have scholarships, and I don’t want any athlete not to play because of that,” Mohrhardt said. “We’ll make sure that doesn’t happen.”
According to Grand Haven assistant athletic director Robin Bye, Buccaneers’ student-athletes playing a school-funded sport must pay $80 per sport, with a family maximum of $240. The $80 is a $5 increase from last year.
Those playing sports that aren’t fully funded, such as hockey or lacrosse, pay $25 plus the cost needed to support that sport.
At the middle school level, Grand Haven student athletes pay $45 per sport with a family maximum of $135.