Packed Stands Shower Team Spirit Schoolwide

Spectators who pack the stadium steps of Laguna Beach High School’s Guyer Field for this Friday’s homecoming football game should feel a sense of satisfaction knowing their presence pumps up the players on and off the gridiron.

In fact, fans should know home-game support at the gate helps pay for an array of expenses incurred each year by all 19 sports played at the school, although gate receipts alone don’t come close to covering the department’s incidental costs, said Athletic Director Mike Churchill.

While the school district underwrites team transportation, some equipment, coaches salaries and pay some tournament fees, every parent knows team participation requires athlete fees each season, which pay for extras like new uniforms, assistant coaching stipends, awards and gear, he said.

Laguna’s sport fees are comparable to other high schools, he said, citing a $1,000 fee for Huntington Beach football players, compared to $400 to $700 in Laguna. “When I started coaching, the best football helmet cost $37; now it’s $300,” he said.

But ticket fees for fans of football, basketball and girls volleyball games, the only sports where entry fees are collected from visitors, help defray costs for game officials, security and ticket takers for all sports, Churchill said.

He estimated football fans anted up about $23,000, volleyball netted $7,000 and boys basketball $2,300 last year. But officiating for 19 different sports, for instance, alone cost $23,000, while tournament fees were another $6,600, he said.

If there is any remainder from sports ticket sales, the surplus is directed to the Associated Student Body, whose student leaders have the discretion to use it on projects that benefit the entire school, rather than an individual sport, such as the mural painted in the quad two years ago, Churchill said.

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