Athletic director addresses student concerns

Alex Pepper, Hi-Gusher staff

A letter was submitted to the Hi-Gusher staff by a concerned student about football players getting treated better than basketball players.

The student claimed that football players get more money, get charter buses, and get more respect. Phillip Lansdell, the athletic director, explained, contrary to this student’s concerns, all sports are treated equally by the school district.

Lansdell explained that all sports get the same amount of money for food and for buses. The student thought that the school provides the money for the football team to get charter buses, but in fact, the school doesn’t provide all of the money needed for a bus.

The school pays for how much it would cost to drive a regular bus to the location of the game, and the team has to provide the rest of the money. For example, if it costs $800 to go to Benton on a regular school bus, and $1,200 to take a charter bus, then the school pays $800, and the team has to come up with the rest to get the bus.

“Anyone can take a charter bus,” Lansdell said, adding, “Most of the teams don’t travel very far, though, so it’s not worth it to spend the extra money on a charter bus.”

Booster Club is a big help with the football teams getting food and transportation before the games.

“Charter buses are cheaper now, with a new bus company in town,” Lansdell said. “Each athlete in every sport, whether it’s basketball, football, volleyball, soccer, baseball, tennis, swim, cheer, softball, and the other sports, get $8 per meal.”

The school provides $8 to all athletes who travel with a sports team for 50 or more miles.

The student also claimed that it’s unfair that the Blacklight Pep Rally costs money, when pep rallies during football season don’t.

“Parents or family members of football players can come see their kids get recognized for free, but our parents or family members have to pay. Imagine this…you are a parent and you have a little girl or a little boy that plays basketball for the school. You also have a nephew that plays football for the same school. Well your nephew invites you to come see him get recognized at their pep rally on Friday at 2. He tells you that it is free to come see him but your kids have a pep rally that Sunday and you realize you have to pay just to see them get recognized,” the letter read.

To be clear, the Blacklight Pep Rally is a fundraiser with tickets sold by basketball players and cheerleaders. Those funds benefit the teams. Yes, the basketball team is recognized at a ticket-based event, but it’s raising money for the program. Football does not benefit from regular school pep rallies.

The basketball team receives recognition again during a “school day” pep rally for Sweetheart in February.