Friday, June 24, 2011

Merged booster clubs in Maine

The Portland (ME) school board has proposed that all athletic booster clubs be merged. So now, at the city's two public high schools, there will no longer be booster clubs for individual sports. Each school will have one booster organization and an administrator who supervises the organization, according to the proposal.
The proposed change is due to some questionable accounting practices within booster clubs as well as Title IX concerns over the equitable distribution of funds and treatment of athletes.
Apparently there is already some sharing of booster funds among teams, so the concept is not completely foreign.
But based on the article's public comments section, there is much criticism of this plan. People are basing these critiques on the belief that fundraised monies should not affect Title IX compliance and that the amount of money raised is a direct correlation to the amount of effort put in by parents.
While the latter may be partially true (the former is not, by the way), these arguments fail to consider the different values parents, students, administrators and the general public have regarding different sports. Football boosters raise more money, in part, because high school football in many, many cities and towns is the highest profile sport. If both the football team boosters and the girls soccer team boosters sell concessions at their respective games, who is going to raise more money?
Such an argument just perpetuates the inequities and punishes those student-athletes, and their parents, who may feel just as passionately about their sports as football players and their parents but cannot get others to feel similarly.