Booster spending alters high school athletic competition
One evening last fall, dozens of well-dressed boosters of the Minnetonka High School baseball program sipped wine at a lakeshore banquet facility and waited as a chef sliced roast beef at an offseason fundraiser.
A silent auction included a week’s vacation in Hawaii, a pheasant hunt, a cultured pearl necklace and a spa day sponsored by a Lexus dealership. The next day, Cathy Maes, an event organizer, reported that big gains had been made in retiring the $4.4 million debt on the school’s new baseball and softball fields. “I think we did really well,” she said.
That same night across the Twin Cities, the Anoka High School football team, ending another dismal season, gathered for a last supper of sorts in a school cafeteria. The meal, spaghetti on paper plates, was provided by a booster club that worries about getting food to athletes from low-income families. Its budget has finished in the red two of the past four years.
Interesting article by the Star Tribune today, although the class divide between school/communities near Lake Minnetonka/SW Metro, and Anoka County/N Metro/Inner city has always been there to some degree, the distribution of wealth in these areas in regards to high school sports has dramatically changed in recent years.