Athletic funding at MA

Posted: January 27, 2012

The money behind the sports

What goes into funding sports and how the money is distributed

Andrew Graham, Talon staff writer

How does your sport get funded at Minnehaha Academy? Do you know what it takes to get new equipment, and what needs to be done to make sure that you get the best out of your athletic experience? Do you have any idea how money is divided, and do you feel that your team gets an equal cut from the athletic budget?

These are common questions that are asked by students everyday.

In reality, the school tries to maintain a competitive balance and tries to give all sports an equal shot at succeeding every single year.

First of all, it has to be understood that all sports do not require the same basic fees and supplies.

For example, the participation fee for basketball is not the same as for nordic skiing.

“Every sport costs a different amount of money to run, cross country running is a cheaper sport to run than football,” said retired Athletic Director Ken Anderson.

That means that the budgets are much different from sport to sport. The budget is set up to run what needs to be run, with very little money left over to spend.

“One sports budget might be $1500 another sports might be $3000… The amount of money that each sports gets is based on basically what it costs to run that program,” said Anderson.

Is there any way that an individual sport can make money by doing fundraisers? The answer is ‘yes’, and according to cross country coach Christian Zimmerman, it can be quite effective.

“We handed out potato chips outside a Twins game for two nights, and actually made $1,000 off of it,” said Zimmerman.

However, you cannot take money away from those who would typically give money to the program such as parents, for example.

Is the playing field equal for all sports?

Yes, and despite the fact that the costs of the sports are much different, no sport is being given an excess of spending money that it does not need and that could be spent on other sports.

All general expenses of the sports that you play cover a variety of issues not only related specifically to the sport. The costs include an athletic trainer, coaching clinics and maintaining the weight room. This is what is known as an operational budget and is something that has been set for many years.

The budgeting process is year to year, with improvements being made with new ways to better the athletic programs in any way possible.

“What do we need to do for individual teams and the programs that will enhance the experience of our participants [and] that will enhance our abilities to be more successful?” asked Ron Monson, director of athletic advancement.

“If you look at all of our facilities, for some teams we have tremendous facilities, for others we don’t have any facilities,” added Monson.

Part of the process for the Advancement Office and the new athletic director will be working to not only improve facilities, but add more coaching training as well.

This is something that is not required now, but something Monson hinted may be added in the future.

But the budget is tight, and there is a difference between wants and needs, which is something that new Athletic Director Homar Ramirez understands clearly.

“I am amazed that we can even run an athletic program with the small amounts each program is allocated,” said Ramirez. “The economical times dictate that it is tight. We all would like to have more.”

“The coaches get what they need, and I think that has been important to this point, no one has gone without things they need,” added Ramirez.

You may be wondering about co-op sports. It is simply based on numbers, and you pay by the number of participants, whether it is five people or 50 people.

The cost is then split by numbers among the other schools that are participating. If you have seven players and the other school has three players, and the overall cost is $10,000, then Minnehaha contributes $7,000.

While some may still question if their respective sports are receiving the funding they need, the fact is, yes, the administration is doing what they can with the resources they have.

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