With the incoming school year commencing August 29, Suffield High School students will be forced to make some financial adjustments. That is, if they want to continue and/or take up playing a sport.
This year, the high school has brought on the seemingly sudden change of enforcing a pay-to-play rule, where students must pay a fee of $75 each time they enroll in a sport, with a cap of $225 per year. This fee does not include the gear that is required to play sports, such as padding, shoes, and helmets, all of which the players pay for out of their own (or their parents’) pockets. Indeed, the ability to pay for helmets can make all the difference in a player’s safety. According to a senior football player at the high school, the helmets provided by the school are subpar, and a truly quality helmet can be quite costly. Meanwhile, the pay-to-play fee could take a significant chunk out of an athlete’s budget for gear, making the difference between adequate safety and mediocre protection.
Several other students had a lot to say. Of the $75 fee, a senior volleyball player said, “I only play one sport during the year, so I don’t mind too much. I’m going to pay for it myself.” A junior on the same sports team expressed a negative view of the fee, and also commented, “I think a lot of negative opinions result from not knowing the purpose of pay-to-play.” According to an administrator at the high school, the fee, as well as the fee for parking, is to pay for everyday necessities, like busing. Additionally, those who fear undue impact on underprivileged students have no need for concern; the fee will be waived for all those deemed unequipped to pay for it.
Editors Note: Just before press time, the Observer learned that the BOE voted to rescind their decision to implement Pay to Play and parking fees.