TRI-CITIES, TN (WJHL) – Zeb Holland loves sports. He’s been competing since he was five years old. He started playing football in the 8th grade and lives for Friday nights under the lights.
“I enjoy being on a team, the family, under the lights,” said Holland, a sophomore football player.
The bright lights of athletics come at a cost to both the schools and school districts.
Athletics are funded in two ways: taxpayer funded coaching supplements, and money raised by individual athletic departments.
“Every district pays their coaches. That’s built into the districts, not just athletics, but the band and yearbook” said David Crockett Athletic Director Josh Kite.
Of the school districts we looked into, Kingsport City Schools spent the most money $320,000. Greeneville spent the least at $164,000. Washington County used 198,000, but that money is split between two schools.
Paid admission is the number 1 source of income for area sports team.
“We make 80% to 90% of our revenue from games and fundraisers,” said Kite.
Science Hill earned $92,000 in football income, Tennessee High earned $54,000. Big money for sure, until you look at the cost it takes to put on a game.
“We have seven to ten helpers, six to 10 security officers: we hire five or six officials. It costs $1400 to $1500 per game.” said Kite.
According to financial records, Dobyns-Bennett spent the most $ 279,218 on athletics last year. Elizabethton was second at $271,000.
Fundraising and boosters help offset more of the cost. Helping to ensure players like Zeb Holland can take the field for years to come.
“Everybody is around you, yelling. You are happy to be a part of the team,” says Holland:
District Payments for Coaching Supplements
District Supplement Student Pop.
Kingsport $320,000 1981
Johnson City $305,000 2201
Elizabethton $213,000 836
*Washington Co. $198,000 2703
Bristol $176,000 1161
Greeneville $164,000 872
* Two Schools (Daniel Boone and David Crockett)
Student Population based on statistics from the www.tn.gov/education