Unequal Funding of Sports

By: Erin Casey

Sports are a major factor in the high school experience. Westhill is no exception to this, we have a variety of sports which range from aquatic to ice. An underlying issue of said sports teams is the budget. 

 “Our uniforms are super worn down, and they don’t fit the female body well at all,” said Alexandra Tobiasiewicz (‘23), a member of the Westhill Cross Country team.

When the cross country team voiced their concerns that they did not fit, the problem was never solved. 

This is not an uncommon occurrence, the less major and prioritized sports teams often receive a smaller amount of funding. Compared to the baseball team getting new uniforms, while less mainstream sports like cross country as stated before, have not gotten new uniforms within the last couple of years. In the Westhill Athletic handbook, “Student-Athletes must take good care of equipment and uniforms and follow washing instructions in regards to their uniforms.” But how would that occur if the uniforms and equipment were already in poor condition? 

“The men’s team gets new westhill soccer bags and we have seven soccer bags for the entire girls varsity team,” said an anonymous student  [22], a member of the varsity soccer team.

Even for major sports of each season, such as soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter, and baseball in the spring, their female counterparts seem to appear as lesser and receive a smaller portion of the budget given to the athletic teams. 

At Westhill, most of the equipment is on the older side and currently due to covid restrictions, the weight room is not open to the public which means out-of-season athletes will have to pay money to go to a gym to buy their own equipment. Some of the equipment the athletic teams give to student athletes are against regulation and USA athletic rules due to their lack of safety. The US Lacrosse goalie chest protectors restrictions has been changed as of January of 2021, and the equipment given to the players is out of date.

“The budget is so limited they require most of the funding via the students themselves, leading to many quitting. They put a crazy amount of money into baseball, they get free merch and everything while other sports like gymnastics and girls hockey have to pay a lot for anything… It’s mainly girls’ sports that don’t get free stuff and funding,” said Hannah Chuckas (23), a prominent member of the athletic community in Westhill.

An interview with Westhills accountant Mrs. Makanji exposed new knowledge about the school’s athletic spendings. The budget given to Westhill in the 2021-2022 year is $25,239,550. Only .008% of that budget is spent on sports, giving a total of $211,650 for all our sports teams. 

Westhill has approximately $18,756 for each student, which is low compared to the surrounding schools in the FCIAC. Darien’s budget is $21,000 per student, and New Canaan’s budget is $22,500 per student which is a large difference from the Westhill Student budget. 

This budget is split between over 20 sports teams and includes the cost of buses and transportation to away games, alongside other expenses that teams require.

How will teams improve if they are not funded correctly? Especially because our teams are at a disadvantage already with the split between Stamford High and Westhill.