Impacts COVID-19 and UIL restrictions have on high school athletics

Impacts COVID-19 and UIL restrictions have on high school athletics

LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - High school football season is coming to an end, which means athletic departments will soon learn the financial impact caused by fewer people at games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UIL created rules for athletes, coaches, and spectators to follow this season. This included wearing a face mask, social distancing, and allowing for fifty percent capacity at games. Marty Murr, San Augustine’s Athletic Director, said that their band program took a hit due to low concession sales.

“It was our band’s biggest fundraiser. But it supplements the program pretty well so they lost some money. We lost some money on sub varsity games and the fifty percent capacity, it affects you financially,” Murr said. “Nothing as big as the track season, not having track last year was huge for our athletic program. Probably in the sum of $15- to $20,000.”

Supplement is a keyword. Huntington Athletic Director Shawn Jones says their programs don’t rely specifically on game day funds.

“We budget and fund for programs, period. So because we were at fifty-percent capacity, less concession sales, that doesn’t affect any other program. It doesn’t affect football,” Jones said. “It might affect the overall budget as a shortfall in that area, in those two accounts, but it won’t affect any program.”

In previous years, Lufkin Athletic Director Todd Quick said fundraising opportunities helped fill in the gap from state funding to help purchase the best equipment for athletes. This year that has changed.

“You can’t put kids out there on the road right now knocking on people’s doors. You’re not going to do it,” Quick said. “And so it’s going to be an impact, it’s not going to keep us from doing what we need to do and our kids from having what they should have, it just may slow down the wish list.”

San Augustine’s athletic director says all public schools’ ticket sales and revenue from the gate go to a general fund.

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