Booster spending alters high school athletic competition

  • Article by: Mike Kaszuba , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 27, 2013 - 8:02 AM

Booster clubs, affluent alumni and benefactors, and corporations are creating a world of haves and have-nots in local high school sports.

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JKvamJun. 24, 13 9:59 AM

As it concerns private schools - that's part of the territory but this scale of inequity between public schools it not something to be unconcerned with or just pass off as sour grapes. It's a failure of the system and is not the America we all got to grow up in. Why do kids anywhere in this state deserve less than we got? The mentality is ingrained. I've seen at rec soccer for 4 year olds where dads (and moms) and their kids are right out of central casting. Money is like pouring gas on the fire. No one is naive enough to believe this hasn't always played on on some level but pay attention to the facts in this story and tell yourself we can't do better if you can.

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dm6414May. 31, 1310:32 AM

Flash_Gordon is talking about something he does not know much about. The Minnetonka Football booster club sells 40 lb bags of water softener salt. Usually when you order from them the team members come and drop off the bags of salt and bring them into your basement. Last year I ordered my bags after the deadline and I had not heard back about when the delivery would be. I called the number on the sheet and it was Dave Nelson's cell phone and he told me that the bags would be delivered around 8:30 that night. At 8:30 that night Coach Nelson and his wife showed up at our house and brought the bags in. He is absolutely as committed to his kids and his program as he ever was. Now he just has more tools at his disposal but ultimately all of the extra money does not buy success for a program. It all comes down to commitment by the kids. I thought it was interesting that Coon Rapids Football was an example of how limited resources translates into difficult season. A co-worker of mine from Coon Rapids has told me for the past two years how all of the best athletes at Coon Rapids have either quit football because they did not work well with the coaching staff and several players had to deal with suspensions for violating MSHSL policies. Regardless of the details of either of those statements the programs success or lack of it all stem from the commitment of the kids to the program.

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elitescoutMay. 28, 13 9:23 PM

Would someone like to define "corporate sponsorship"? I have been part of many booster clubs that sold advertising in game programs or on websites to large businesses, but the money came directly from that branch, not from corporate headquarters. The fact that schools the size of Coon Rapids and Anoka are complaining is simply a joke. Both schools are in the top 10 enrollments in Minnesota and have plenty of fundraising opportunities.

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jack4402May. 28, 13 9:16 PM

What some call "unfairness," others call "freedom." What some call forced "sharing," others call "theft." What some call "advantage," others call the result of "hard work," advantageous as it may be to one's offspring. Limiting freedom does not lead to "equality;" only to the shared mediocrity of all. How good would a team feel about beating one of the "big 4," knowing deep-down that they had done so by legislating away their opponent's full potential?

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jack4402May. 28, 13 8:58 PM

Championships aren't won in the booster club, they're won in the weight room and on the field. My small-town northern MN football team beat Minnetonka 55-0, at their field, in 2001. The next year, Alexandria beat Cretin, at Cretin. It's possible folks, it just takes a better team of athletes who are willing to do what it takes to win. I'll admit, it's hard to compete with larger, better equipped schools, but that doesn't mean that we should pass a law limiting the ability of parents to freely support their kids or forcing them to "share" their hard-earned money. Corporate sponsorships, however, are a bit ridiculous and should be limited to college level and above, IMHO.

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prepwork82May. 28, 13 3:25 PM

Thanks. You all just cemented my decision to donate MORE to my Big 4 booster club. Revenue sharing for booster funds??? What a joke. Government intervention??? Ridiculous. Life is not fair. Great coaching and hard work will beat fancy uniforms and facilities every time. It still comes down to performance on the field.

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ipadpepperMay. 28, 13 2:29 PM

How dare these successful communities raise and donate money so their children can have a more enjoyable an fulfilling childhood!?!?!? "Sipping wine and waiting as the chef sliced roast beef". "Flom, who can break down game film by projecting it onto a classroom smart board that’s linked to a software program on his laptop computer". Mike Kaszuba should be ashamed and embarrassed by the filthy propaganda article he has written. He makes people from Minnetonka and Eden Prairie out to be criminals. Should we apologize for working hard and being successful? Instead of spending our free time and money on supporting our community and children's athletics would you rather we went on a vacation to the Bahamas or bought another Italian sports car? Pathetic article Mike. No matter how hard you try to fight it, the fact will always remain; THE WORLD IS NOT A FAIR PLACE.

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loneroosterMay. 28, 13 1:40 PM

This article, and the complaining in the comments section is absolutely pathetic. Why would kids not want to attend schools that have these facilities? Why would parents NOT want their kids to go to these schools. I would also like to point out that these schools are not only top performers on the athletic fields but they are also top performers in the classroom! This is about local communities investing in their COMMUNITIES and not DEPENDING on the Govt or some sort of legislation to FORCE an even playing field. People should get out and support their schools and should invest in their communities if they are so passionate about it. This is not about a misappropriation of tax funds to certain schools. This is about the PRIVATE sector getting involved and creating a POSITIVE impact.. Also known as capitalism. If I had a kid who was about to enter HS you bet your butt I would want him or her to go to Wayzata or Tonka or Edina or EP. You would be crazy not to. Local communities getting involved and investing in their schools is a REMARKABLE thing...not something to complain about. This is pathetic. The envy on here is ridiculous. Get out in your own community and get involved. Set up fundraisers, find donors, INVEST in your School!

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boober10May. 28, 13 9:18 AM

I graduated from Coon Rapids HS in 1989 and live in Plymouth (Wayzata school district) now. It saddens me to see just how bad this gap is. My boys are only 5 and 7, but the first time we we saw Wayata HS, I thought it was absolutely ridiculous. I'm embarassed by it. The MSHL should do something to reign this in. Thank you to the Star Tribune for drawing attention to this.

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Flash_GordonMay. 28, 13 9:05 AM

Football Coach Nelson at Minnetonka isn't having to sell bags of lawn fertilizer to raise money for his team like he did as head coach at Blaine.

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