Students who want to participate in fall sports at the junior high level in the Lakota school district must register and pay fees by next Friday, June 29, which is more than two weeks earlier than the deadline last summer.
Chris Passarge, Lakota’s executive director of business operations, said the date was moved up since there won’t be any staff members at the junior high buildings in July.
It is not known if the early deadline is affecting the number of signups. Passarge doesn’t plan to look at the numbers until the June 29 deadline. He did say, however, certain sports could be consolidated or canceled if minimum participation numbers are not met.
Prior to the 2011-2012 school year, the school district raised junior high athletic participation fees from $200 to $350. The increased cost led to a drop off in fall student athletes from 753 participants in 2010-11 to 644 in 2011-2012.
Overall, fall participation fell 14 percent. The percentage would have been greater if not for an increase in 7th grade and 8th grade cheerleaders – from 78 in 2010-11 to 106 in 2011-2012.
- The price of pay-to-play: Lakota to have highest fees in region next school year
- Enquirer database: Area high schools charging to play
- Information: Community Foundation’s athletic fund
- Which sports do you think should be cut to fund academics?
While participation on 8th grade football cheerleading squads grew 38 percent, the overall participation on 8th grade football teams fell 32 percent (from 168 student athletes in 2010-11 to 114 in 2011-2012).
Other sports, like boys’ cross country (down 46 percent), girls’ cross country (down 37 percent), girls’ golf (down 41 percent) and girls tennis (down 23 percent) all saw substantial losses in their participation numbers.
Only cheerleading and boys’ golf (up 20 percent) showed an increase of participation more than 2 percent.
To sign up for fall sports, students can register and pay online on the athletics page on lakotaonline.com through EZPay. If a sport is canceled or a student athlete fails to make a team, a full refund will be given a few weeks after final rosters are set.
Once the June 29 deadline passes, the school district will establish its junior high athletic teams. During the month of July, students can still try to sign up for one of the established teams at the Lakota Central Office, 5572 Princeton Road, in Liberty Township. In August, students can also attempt to sign up at their junior high building.
High school fall athletes will have to pay (fee of $550 per sport) no later than Aug. 31 after tryouts.