How Much Do High School Sports Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 13, 2018

There is a great debate going on in many places about whether or not high school sports should be pay-to-play or if they should be offered at no cost to the students.  In public schools that receive government funding, people think that sports should be free of charge.  However, because of widespread budget cuts, most schools, private and public, are resorting to pay-to-play sports to keep the athletic programs alive.  An article in USA Today calls this a “national phenomenon.”

How much do high school sports cost?

The sports fee can differ greatly depending on a number of factors, including the size of the school, the city, state, whether or not that school is public or private, and which sport you will be playing.  This fee can be anywhere from $50 to $150 per sport per person.  The national average is $100 per sport per person.

While you would think that smaller, private schools that do not receive any government funding would be more expensive, the opposite is actually true.  The reason for this is that small private schools only offer a couple sports (basketball, soccer, volleyball, etc.) while public schools offer more options (wrestling, football, hockey, lacrosse, etc.).  Private schools usually only offer the sports that cost the least amount of money to maintain.

For example, in the Washington D.C. School District, the district will charge children anywhere from $100 to as much as $275 per sport.

According to the Dayton Daily News, students that attended Lebanon High School would have to pay anywhere from $35 to as much as $250.  This would depend on the student’s grade level. notes the average school participation fee was $400 per child.

When referring to a sports fee, this is how the money is being used:

Money from sports fees helps cover the cost of field and/or court maintenance.

Referees, whose fees are also on the rise, are paid with the money collected from sports fees.  See The National Association of Sports Officials for more information.

New uniforms and equipment would not be possible without charging a sports fee.

Sports fees help with paying the coach and staff for time and services.

What are the extra costs?

Most sports programs require a sports physical to be completed by a physician before the athlete is eligible to participate.  Sports physicals can usually be done for around $25.

If the team chooses to have t-shirts, sweatshirts, warm-ups, etc. made in addition to the uniforms, this will result in an extra charge.

While the uniforms are provided by the program, other equipment such as mouth guards, shoes, braces, etc. must be purchased by the individual.

Transportation fees may vary depending on the sport.  Some schools may charge a transportation fee to get from one school to another.

How can I save money?

Families who are already on some type of government aid can usually have sports fees covered as well.  Check with your local school to ask them about the opportunities that are available.

Families with more than one child participating in multiple sports are sometimes given a discount.  Some schools even have a cap, a maximum amount that family must pay regardless of how many sports their children play.  Most of the time, there are going to be caps that will prevent a family from paying too much throughout the season.

Many schools have some type of booster club, usually made up of parents, that does fundraisers to earn money for the sports program.  The more money you get donated, the less it will cost the students to play.

Inquire in regards to scholarship and fee waiver forms.  Again, if a student meets certain requirements, one may not have to pay a fee.

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Average Reported Cost: $50

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0 %
Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. h (Ridgecrest,  California) paid $50 and said:

    flag football

    Was it worth it? Yes

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