Sports are popular at Marian, and with more than 300 athletes, new equipment and other sports’ necessities cost money. With the constant need of updated materials, athletes can often feel like their sport isn’t getting the same treatment as others’. “Sometimes it feels like certain sports like cross country don’t get as much funds as other sports,” sophomore cross country runner Alexa Pulliam said. While it may seem that way sometimes, a closer look will show that the athletic department, especially with the help of Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Ms. Rochelle Rohlfs works hard to ensure each teams’ needs are filled.
Marian has two main ways that they help provide for sports including the athletic budget and the Booster Club. The school’s athletic budget usually covers uniforms, professional development clinics, paying umpires and officials, training equipment, tournament fees and sometimes transportation. The uniforms are on a four year rotating system – each sport gets new uniforms every four years except for cross country and track. Since both sports typically have a large number of athletes, the athletic department replaces 20 to 30 uniforms every year. If the Marian sports go over budget, that is when the Booster Club helps out. The Booster Club is a membership organization that provides financial support for supplies and equipment not covered by the school’s athletic budget, which Rohlfs helps manage.
The memberships for Booster Club are available to anyone who wants to support Marian athletics, though a majority of members tend to be current athletes’ parents. There are two levels of memberships that people can choose from: the Blue Club Level and the Gold Club Level.
The Blue Club Level costs $150 a year and provides admission to home games for immediate family of the Booster Club member to all sporting events throughout the year. The Gold Club Level costs $300 and has the same admission policy as the Blue Club Level, but it also includes a Marian polo and a $125 donation to a sport of the member’s choice at Marian.
“The money tagged for each sport is used for coach’s wish list items. These items include training equipment, retreats, facility rental, nutritionists, and charter busses. Money raised for the Booster Club that is not eartagged for a certain sport helps with larger facility need items. “Last year, volleyball raised $6,000 through their Junior High Volleyball tournament, so they were able to get new jump boxes, and the rest of the Booster Club money went to renovating the softball infield, and both were wish list items,” Rohlfs said.
The Booster Club also raises money by selling bumper stickers, car decals, yard signs. The events that bring in the most money for the Booster Club are Trivia Night for parents and Junior High Tournaments for basketball and volleyball. The Junior High Tournaments bring in around $15,000. Also sports take turns working the concession stands during indoor home games, and half of the profit goes to their particular sport within the Booster Club. With the money raised from these events, the Booster Club is able to buy other items that help enhance the overall athletic program at Marian.
For example, two years ago, the Booster Club was able to buy the Digital Trophy Case which will benefit all NSAA sports and activities, resurface the tennis courts, provide educational classes for coaches and buy additional equipment for sports. This year, the Booster Club is also providing banners for all the sports featuring the varsity athletes. The fall sports are currently on display in the gym. Through the various items bought by the Booster Club, it has been shown that all sports have received the most equal funding possible for a given sport. “People want to see tangible things and items,” Rohlfs said. “Those items and needs are different for each sport.” While that may be the case, the Booster Club still tries to seek to fulfill all sports’ needs equally, especially with having wish list items for each sport rotating every year.