By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Nearly 57 percent of Michigan High School Athletic Association high schools assessed participation fees to help fund interscholastic athletics in 2013-14, according to the most recent survey taken by the MHSAA – indicating a slight increase in use of fees compared to the previous school year.
Of 405 high schools that responded to the 2013-14 survey, 229 – or 56.6 percent – charged fees last school year compared to 55.3 percent of member schools that charged in 2012-13. The percentage of member schools charging fees crossed 50 percent in 2010-11 and remained at 50.5 percent in 2011-12 before making a nearly five-percent jump two school years ago.
There were 758 senior high schools in the MHSAA membership in 2013-14 – the most recent survey generated a response rate of 53 percent. This was the 10th survey of schools since the 2003-04 school year, when members reported fees were being charged in 24 percent of schools.
The largest surge of charging fees in 2013-14 came at Class A schools, with 77 percent reporting fees after 71 percent reported using them in 2012-13. Class B schools saw a one percent increase to 62 percent with fees, and Class D schools saw a two percent increase to 39 percent. Class C schools, however, saw a four percent drop to 46 percent assessing for participation.
Charging a standardized per-team fee for each on which a student participates remains the most popular method among schools that assess fees, with 41 percent of schools that assess doing so in this way. The median fee among those schools was $85 in 2013-14, an increase of $20 from the previous year.
Building on a trend that emerged during the 2011-12 survey, the use of fees incurred by students who paid once for an entire year of participation increased for the third consecutive school year, this time to 33 percent of schools that charge – although, on a positive note, the median fee for students paying once for a school year dropped $25 from 2012-13 to $100 in 2013-14.
The survey for 2013-14 and surveys from previous years can be found on the MHSAA Website.
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.4 million spectators each year.