There’s no question that the popularity of Spartan Athletics varies from team to team. While this popularity doesn’t translate into funding from the administration, specific donations from alumni on the basis of popularity are a consequence of the emphasis our community places on sports.
Students are quick to make allegations of disproportionate funding on behalf of the administration. “The boy’s hockey team has too much money,” junior Sam Suzuki said. Suzuki is a varsity basketball and soccer player on spartan teams. “They spend it on weird stuff like black and white profile pictures.” Seemingly arbitrary spending by the hockey team is subject of much controversy among students; however when the budget discrepancies are contextualized, instances like black and white photos and alternate jerseys can be justified.
Any excess spending by the boy’s hockey team can be attributed to donations from alumni and other supporters of SPA athletics. The policies for both academic and athletic donations are fairly lenient. If you insist on specificity in your donation, your request will be honored, and your money will be allocated to the department or team you wish to fund. “It’s hard to say no to people when they want to give you money,” co-athletic director Mike Brown said. The threat of deterring future donations also exists, so the administration is hesitant to set guidelines when not needed.
Anonymous donations to the football program have amassed to roughly 40,000 dollars in the past year. When that statistic is contrasted by a fencing team that couldn’t suit all members of the team for lack of sufficient funds, one begins to wonder if the current policy pertaining to donations is helping or hindering SPA athletics. Granted, the fencing team’s inability to provide proper equipment to all members can be attributed to an underestimation on participation on behalf of the administration. However, the means by which they remedied the dilemma could have been expedited by more mobility in the donation pool.
So should SPA think differently about how it allocates donations to various teams? Junior Maddie Flom-Staab adds neutrality to a heated debate, “People want specific programs to get better. The football team got a lot of money in the past years. Our football team has not been very good so people want to put more money towards it whereas fencing doesn’t get as much hype. It’s a weird thing people have with sports, the mainstream ones are hyped up regardless of how good we are.”
Flom Staab’s sentiment is echoed by many other students. As long as each team has sufficient funding from the school, luxuries by some teams are a consequence of disproportionate emphasis on athletics by our community and alumni. Ultimately more money is better than less, and deterring donations serves nobody. As long as SPA’s allocation of school funds to teams remains consistent and fair, allegations of favoritism on behalf of the administration are unfounded, and the desire to restrict donations to the “athletic department” seems to do more harm than good.