HSE Spring Sports: Empty Stands, Empty Wallets

Lauren Kopka

The spring athletic season of 2019-20 was cut abruptly short for most athletes. When the HSE board decided to allow fall athletics to take place, it seemed like a miracle to the many high school athletes at Hamilton Southeastern who only wanted the chance to prove themselves on the field or court. However, the lack of fans allowed to cheer on their teams in person this fall has transferred a financial burden on the 2020-21 spring sports. Parent Volunteers and Administration alike are facing challenges this year to fund school sports.


“Athletics is down $80,000 for everything… football and basketball are big money-makers. Those two sports bring in almost all the money in that fund’s athletics. Your spring sports,  a lot of them lose money,” Fundraising Coordinator for HSE Lacrosse Denise Retzner said. “So, if you weigh out ticket sales to what it actually costs to run that sport, probably most of your springs sports will be loses. It’s covered by football and basketball.”


Due to the restrictions on the number of spectators allowed, the biggest money-making sports were unable to bring in nearly as much money as they have in other years. Another way that sports are funded is by selling raffle tickets and hosting silent auctions to afford everything that the athletes could possibly need.


“The fundraisers we did were a summer golf outing, and we usually do auction baskets with it. The boys go out and sell raffle tickets and we usually have about 40 baskets. And [the raffle tickets] sell $20 a piece so we usually bring in $20,000 easy just from the raffle tickets,” Retzner said. “… we were unable to do baskets and stuff because we couldn’t go around to vendors and restaurants to get donations for the baskets. Because restaurants were really hurting and they’re not going to give free stuff away when they’re already down so much.”


Many spring sports were forced to cancel or suspend fundraising for last year’s season due to COVID-19. Nonetheless, in spite of budgetary limitations, spring school sports are reported to have little to no visible changes due to the Athletic Department’s smaller budget. The biggest adjustment could possibly be teams not receiving new uniforms this season. In contrast, club sports at HSE such as lacrosse will have huge adjustments in their seasons.


“It’s considered a club sport, and parents are paying for all of that stuff [equipment, jerseys, hospitality],” Retzner said. “We fundraise as much as we can to pay for the cost of that…with lacrosse, again that’s usually covered by parents, but they would go to New York and to Wisconsin and all over the place to play. That’s all been cut out. They’ll do little trips to Cincinnati or somewhere like that, but the big overnight trips are done for at least this year and the kids loved that. And I don’t know if that’s because of Covid or because of funding.”


In light of all the stress surrounding money in the athletic department, spring athletes are remaining grateful to have a season at all, and they are going to take advantage of these upcoming months. To continue and support HSE athletics, keep checking in with teams for when they host fundraisers and attend athletic events.