With Texas Tech athletics receiving talent from the Frisco Independent School District, its new “pay-to-play” policy could have an impact on recruiting.
For Texas Tech Football, and every other college sports program around the country, the concept of paying athletes for play is almost incomprehensible, strictly from a logistics standpoint. Sure, we can place a value amount on players, but that doesn’t create a pro competitive environment for non-blue chips.
For the Frisco ISD (Frisco, TX), administrators have found a way around the “pay-for-play” controversy, in the most controversial way: “pay-to-play.”
In the past, the term “pay-for-play” meant a controversial (and illegal) act of schools offering student-athletes impermissible benefits for attending the institution. But for the Frisco, Texas ISD, that means student-athletes now have to pay for their participation in athletics. And no, this isn’t a private school district.
In an article posted Monday by the Sports Day (DallasNews.com), the school district approved a budgetary measure that would cost students $100 for middle school sports participation, and $200 for high school for the school year.
This is in response to a reduction in funding, plus voters rejecting a tax rate increase of “.13 cents per $100 of assessed value.”
To draw comparison, the article mentions that Coppell ISD charges $150 for each student for the year, and Highland Park ISD, which charges a $250 per year.
But just how will their new policy effect recruiting for Texas Tech?
Of the 100 +/- players on the Texas Tech Football roster, there are two players from the Frisco ISD; OL Jack Anderson (Frisco), and OL Colin Yang (Heritage).
With Anderson’s admiration for Texas Tech on full display since he was being recruited, it’s safe to say the connection between Frisco talent and Texas Tech could result in an organic pipeline.
While the district has pledged to offer scholarships for families who can’t afford to pay their way, this might influence student-athletes’ decisions to participate at all, based off several factors. For many, accepting handouts is unacceptable. If a student’s family can’t afford to pay an entry fee, it could take other factors into consideration, such as:
If my child excels, could I afford outside training/coaching?What if my child gets injured?Does this cover additional insurance?Are there equipment scholarships?
For students who view athletics as a way out of a bad situation at home, or a meal ticket, the “pay-to-play” model could influence the quality of players schools produce. If this becomes the standard for school districts looking to offset costs, it could have widespread impacts throughout the State, and beyond.
Much like Florida and California, Texas is seen as a vast recruiting hotbed, and if the State begins to see a downturn in national recruiting output, we’re talking about negative impacts, even at the NFL level.
I doubt the impacts of this fee will be devastating to those effected by it this upcoming school year, however, as football continues to grow, and infrastructure to support athletics grows to more competitive levels, school districts need to find more effective ways to forecast, and fundraise.