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What is the definition of Pay to Play?

What is the definition of Pay to Play? Research it and you will see many variations but Google comes right up and states:



1. relating to or denoting an arrangement in which a charge must be paid to play a game or sport.

Marsha Sutton has been talking about this very behavior in SDUHSD for years and as she mentions in her article: Adult Transition Program the latest in a series of district missteps the lack of leadership has intensified the poor behavior being perpetuated in the District.

The pay-to-play is applicable to club sports; teams provide services of value to the participant. If value is not provided, the participant has choices and can chose another private entity to pay for services.

However, the club system does not belong in the PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL. The benefit of our California Public Schools is that ALL STUDENTS get equal access regardless of socio-economic position.

CCA Girls Field Hockey took their sport back in 2015 – setting the stage to break down the fear of asking: Is this right?

Does SDUHSD know what it costs to run the school sponsored extra-curriculars on campus?

Here are some of the numbers sent to us that families felt they had to pay in order for their student to participate and represent their PUBLIC school:

$700 - Water Polo

During board public comments this year (feb 2017, apr 2017) it was noted that at least 5 boys could not play water polo at Torrey Pines because of the large recommended donation.

$1,500-$2,000 – LCC Cheerleading

requires contract be signed before allowed to tryout

$435 - SDA Baseball

contribution was asked from each player for baseball

$695 - TPHS Baseball

minimum donation level per player for TPHS baseball

$750 - TPHS Football

$700 - CCA Conservatory

requested contribution from each Conservatory member

$495 for TPHS Boys Varsity Volleyball / $395 for Frosh/JV

District found that this constituted pay to play and violated the free school guarantee due to the attached e-mail – so a letter should be going out to all volleyball players to receive their mandatory payment back.

$1250 V / $900 JV - TPHS Dance Team

requested donations but does not include cost of mandatory camp participation

So many questions:

  1. Why the difference in program cost from one school to another?

  2. Why do families feel they have to PAY to PLAY?

  3. What does it really cost the District to offer extra-curriculars?

  4. We want to support the success of our students. However, is the gouging of families really what is making our teams successful?

  5. This has been a topic for a number of years, why the lack of leadership to correct this issue? No blame game on illegal student fees ~ Marsha Sutton July 2014

Public Schools are required to provide equal access. All students should have equal access. The Students and the District need to take the extracurriculars out of the control of the Profiteers.

Share your numbers so we can take our schools back and incentivize teachers to coach again.

Let's set the example of what good should look like.

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