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Jan 08, 2024

Athletic Department Budgets: How K-12 Sports Accident Insurance Helps

Athletic Department Budgets: How K-12 Sports Accident Insurance Helps

Keeping your district fiscally healthy while providing a solid educational and extracurricular experience for the community’s youth is a daunting responsibility—especially since it never ends. Once one K-12 school budget is approved, planning and negotiations start on the next one. You’re right back to the drawing board, facing the latest revenue shortages and funding reductions while receiving community feedback and dealing with local politics.

Rising to the top of your concerns is your school’s athletic department budget and how to keep programs safe at a time when spending is questioned. Additionally, arguments continue over the dollar amounts spent per child on sports versus academics. How are some school districts meeting these challenges?

K-12 Budget Solutions Help Meet Rising Sports Costs

While providing education is paramount, there are many reasons why athletics are also critically important to a school:

  • Participating students have an identity and purpose
  • At-risk students get structure, support, goals, and encouragement they may not have elsewhere
  • The student body and greater community have a sense of pride
  • They instill values of good sportsmanship, team building, and fair play
  • They enable other extracurriculars, such as the marching band playing for football games

But for all of their undeniable value, there’s no denying that running school sports programs are expensive.

Typical sports program costs

A high school batter swings at the baseball on a muddy baseball diamond.Costs are made up of direct expenses for running the programs and indirect expenses that represent capital purchases, field maintenance, utilities, and other miscellaneous expenditures. Costs include:

  • Salaries or stipends for coaches and assistants
  • Administrative and insurance costs
  • Subcontracted services such as:
    • Doctors and athletic trainers
    • Officials, game workers, and security
    • EMS/Ambulance
  • Medical supplies
  • Equipment purchases and repair
  • League dues
  • Team uniforms and other apparel (and upkeep and replacements)
  • Team refreshments (snacks, lunches, dinners)
  • Team awards/banquets
  • Transportation/travel
  • Tournament fees
  • Custodial services
  • Sound crew and equipment
  • Signage and lighting
  • Field maintenance and storage

With some schools offering 18 or more programs for boys and girls, you can see how athletic department budgets for these extracurriculars can easily top $1 million. Schools count on revenue from the sports to offset some of the costs and budget cuts.

Typical Sports Program Revenue Sources

A young high school football player wearing a red jersey stands with his teammates on the field.These monies come to the district through:

  • Gate receipts
  • Program sales
  • Concession stand revenue (in some instances)
  • Donations from alumni or other sources

Unfortunately, these funds aren’t usually enough to fill the sports budget. How can both athletic departments and schools get a win-win situation? By getting creative with their strategies.

Raising Money for Sports Teams

Many schools now have participation fees for sports, clubs, arts, and other extracurriculars. These “pay-to-play” fees can range from less than $100 in some places to close to $1,000 or more.

Other revenue options include:

Booster clubs and fundraising: Parents form booster clubs. Their fundraising—from hoagies to raffles to mattress sales—can reach astonishing amounts.

Sponsorships: Local businesses can support the teams by purchasing naming rights to a stadium or bleacher sections, or the goal posts or lights.

Events: Maybe a school’s faculty plays against the team. Or, they develop a tournament that brings other school teams in for a special contest. Some run a camp during school breaks. There’s no end to the money-making events schools can imagine.

Also working hand in hand with raising money to shore up sports team budgets are:

Reducing Costs

Happy high school soccer players embrace as teammates clap after their team wins.

Unfortunately, the easiest way to reduce costs is to eliminate programs. To stop that, some schools band together to share teams and costs; others are replacing junior varsity and/or middle school programs with intramurals or clubs.

However, one less drastic but surprising way that teams can reduce costs is through athletic trainers. While there’s a cost to bringing one on board, having one can make a difference to the teams’ health and welfare and have a positive effect on the teams’ medical costs.

Athletic trainers can help reduce injury risk by working with the coaches and the student-athletes. They can also lessen injury impact by helping with student-athletes’ recovery and training. This, in turn, can lower medical costs for families and the district. It also helps reduce litigation opportunities by families who may use it to recoup medical payments or to show unhappiness with how their child’s injury was handled or happened.

The Role of K-12 Sports Accident Insurance

Did you know accident insurance can also help lower the district’s K-12 school budget? Sports accident insurance, like the plans from A-G Specialty Insurance, pays for the deductibles, copayments, and other out-of-pocket costs left by the student-athlete’s primary insurance when treated for an injury. This relieves the family’s financial stress, especially if they don’t have primary insurance, so there’s less chance of the family pursuing legal recourse. Now, they can concentrate on their child’s recovery.

A-G works with over 40 provider networks to help control treatment costs. A-G also provides claims reports to help coaches and trainers understand the frequency and types of injuries and provide solutions. This risk management can reduce medical costs and, ultimately, premiums: one K-12 school recently saw a 25% reduction in premiums and saved $176 million in claims.

As sports insurance specialists, A-G has protected many thousands of students and student-athletes at K-12 schools, colleges, and universities for nearly 40 years. With a selection of plans that can be tailored to your district’s unique needs, it just might make the difference you need in your kindergarten through high school athletic budget planning. It’s fast and easy to get an idea of your potential savings with the A-G’s Insurance Savings Calculator.

Interested in learning more about K-12 sports accident insurance and how it can help your athletic department budget? Have your insurance agent reach out, or reach out yourself, to learn more.


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