Lack of equity in MCPS athletics: Why paying for tickets is unfair for students


Photo by Justin Miller

Senior Nikhil Bakshi uses the GoFan app to buy the 036;6 ticket for the varsity boys’ playoff basketball game

Why are students required to pay to show school spirit? 

Throughout the school year, you may notice your bank account slowly dwindle as the sports season goes on. Through the 20 regular season basketball games and the 10 regular season football games, students are required to spend at least $150 to attend these events. With every event costing $5 for students ,and more with service fees if one buys them online, if you would like to attend every sporting event the school offers you will end up spending around $500 just to support your squad. 

In the United States of America, the average household income is approximately $70,000 per year and the average annual income for an adult is around $50,000 per year. Is it fair for the school to charge an adult 1% of their annual salary in order for their child to attend events with their peers? While some parents are willing to adhere to the guidelines and provide their children with the money for access to the games, some will have their kids pay for the tickets instead. As a high schooler, it may seem easy to get a job to help fund your excursions out of school, but it is quite the opposite. Many students struggle to sustain a job while maintaining a healthy academic and social life. “I think that paying for tickets is absurd because I think we should be able to support our teams for free,” senior Nikhil Bakshi said.

According to Pew Research Center, post Covid-19, only 36.6% of teenagers have or have had jobs since 2020. How can the school expect those who don’t have jobs, or parents who will pay, to attend the games? How is it reasonable to assume the students can afford the tickets when not even half of the students have jobs? “It should be free because if they don’t have the money to afford it and still want to go they should be allowed to,” said senior Alex Zhao.

Along with price being an issue, students also want to enjoy watching their friends play, along helping the teams win in their own way. When playing sports, there are outside-of-the-game factors that play roles in determining the winner. Momentum and home-field/court advantage not only make the game more fun but also help keep the team more motivated and energetic. “Although the fans make me a little nervous they help support and encourage which overall enhances my confidence,” freshman Bryan Ngouzo said.

Although there are many problems with students paying for tickets, some would argue it is a necessity. Students buying tickets helps fund the sports and brings money to the schools. A solution to this problem would be out of school funding from parents and students. Other sports such as hockey and lacrosse both fund themselves providing their own equipment and even the ice time.