Northwest Horizons

“Pay-to-play” requires athletes to pay a participation fee

A fee of $45 is charged by GSC for athletes to play a sport.

A fee of $45 is charged by GSC for athletes to play a sport.

A fee of $45 is charged by GSC for athletes to play a sport.

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As of the 2017-18 school year, the “pay-to-play” fee is required of all athletes in the Guilford County Schools district if they intend on participating in a school sport. This applies to both middle school and high school athletes, and the fee is the same regardless of how many sports the athlete plays. If money is an issue, families can apply for economic relief waivers.

GCS Superintendent Sharon Contreras presented the idea as a part of the budget approved by Guilford County Commissioners. An estimate of about $400,000 raised throughout the school year will be the result of this fee.

“I think the fee is interesting,” coach Charlotte Kirwan said. “I had a similar one in high school. I think it is a good idea to raise money for the school system. Plus, there are plenty of ways to get around paying it, so no student should feel like they can’t play a sport if they don’t have the money.”

This fee only needs to be paid once, so if an athlete plays a fall sport and a spring sport, they would only pay $45 before their first game of the fall season. If there are multiple athletes in a family, the fee needs to be paid for each person that plans on participating. Parents of athletes can either pay the fee or apply for a waiver.

“I haven’t seen anything done or heard anything about what’s going to be done with the money,” sophomore Luke Gordy said. “We haven’t had [this fee] in the past and it has worked out, so I think we should just go back to each sport raising their own extra money with fundraisers.”

Some question a perceived lack of communication from Guilford County Schools about the “pay-to-play” fee, and many athletes that only participate in spring sports have never heard of the fee. It can come as a surprise to some students and parents, and hearing this new requirement is better in advance.

A problem that some GCS families have with this fee is that the money isn’t going directly to the schools. This can cause some diffidence, for the main concern that people have is not knowing exactly how the money gets distributed.

“Right now, the fee is issued by the county and the money goes to the county,” Kirwan said. “I think that the money should go to the athletic department at each school since they need help with funding as well.”

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“Pay-to-play” requires athletes to pay a participation fee