During a time of uncertainty surrounding the negative effects from our ever-growing dependence on technology, the benefits of youth sports have become more important than ever before. Participation in youth sports fights against the rising obesity rate in children, contributes to time management skills and discipline, is thought to produce higher grades and graduation rates, and so much more.
But these advantages come at a cost. And that cost has been rising over the past few years.
According to CNBC, almost two thirds of students playing in middle or high school sports paid to do so in 2012. Of those participants, only six percent received fee wavers.
In addition to participation costs, the cost of equipment has been spiraling upwards from 2013 to 2014. Lacrosse equipment alone saw a projected increase of 5.70 percent.
Parents want to provide what’s best for their children, even if that means dedicating a little more income to the cause. But will spending extra this year on youth sports make a positive difference?
According to the New York Times, the money, time and energy parents are spending on their young athletes is probably misplaced. Spending on sports has grown to almost 10.5 percent of gross income. Families bringing in $50,000 a year spend up to $5,500 just to have their children participate in sports.
With such large amounts at stake, the willingness to dedicate so much time, money and emotion needs to be examined carefully. So why is it happening?
The most common misguided justification: spending more money will result in higher college scholarship offers.
The truth is that the percentage of high school students who continue to play in college is extremely small – often under five percent. And the number of young athletes that receive school aid is even smaller – three percent. Parents are advised to consider what motivates them to contribute such heavy funds to youth sports before pursuing this course of action.
Investing for a scholarship? Weigh the child’s athletic ability against the probability of receiving a scholarship. Beware that spending too much money on youth sports might result in no scholarships and still having to pay the price of college tuition.
If participation in youth sports is based purely on scholarships consider investing in academics, a category that is much more likely to earn money for schooling.
Motivated by your child’s love for sports? Don’t deny your child something they love, but be careful and track your annual spending on sports. Too often families start youth sports for a fun activity, the child excels at the given activity, and participation in varying programs begins to take off with the snowball effect. At a time when participation costs are spiraling choose your activities wisely.
Have a opinion? Add your thoughts below and let us know what how you plan to handle the rising cost of youth sports.