Bearkat athletes are raising funds to raise the score

In addition to rigorous practice schedules, representing the Bearkats at sporting events and attending classes, athletes also work off the field to supplement team budgets. Sports camps, golf tournaments and auctions are just a few of the ways SHSU athletic teams bring in the big green. “Just about every athletic team at SHSU does some type of fundraising,” John Lumley, assistant athletic director, said. “There are basic university guidelines on what they can and can’t do, and using them, each team comes up with their own unique ideas on how to raise extra money.”According to Lumley, each team must obtain university approval for its fundraisers. After the event is completed, nearly all proceeds, minus expenses, go into an enrichment account.”Each team has an enrichment account, which is separate from the money the university budgets to them,” Lumley said. “That money can be spent as the coach sees fit, although some coaches allow players to decide in advance what the money will be used for.”Lumley said while fundraisers are useful for certain “niceties,” teams are encouraged to live within their means.”The Athletic Department definitely encourages them to run their sports program on the budgeted money,” he said.However according to some SHSU coaches, that isn’t always possible.”We’re not whining, but the fact is none of the sports here are completely funded,” said John Skeeters, head baseball coach. “We are trying to compete at a Division 1 level, and it is difficult at times. We always have to do things to cut costs or raise our own money to get by on,” Skeeters said. “In our situation, players have to purchase their own shoes and gloves. Programs at more major schools don’t make players do that, they provide them.”As a result of such issues, many teams use fundraising to help supplement the budget for travel expenses and pay for extra equipment or uniforms that are needed. For the baseball and softball programs, holding camps and clinics for younger athletes is a major means of support. “We have always held softball clinics for people of any age,” softball coach Bob Brock said. “We use the money not just so we can go out and do some fun thing, but for things the team really needs.”According to Skeeters, baseball camps his team sponsors each summer bring in needed funds, although not as much as in past years.”I’ve been doing these camps for 25 years. Back in their hay day we’d see around 400 kids in a summer and make around $20,000,” he said. “Now it has dwindled due to more big name schools offering camps, and last year we made around $4,000. It all helps though.”Baseball and softball players have also earned money recently by acting as ushers and security for SHSU football games. According to Lumely, golf tournaments, selling T-shirts and working at fairs are also popular fundraising techniques of SHSU athletic teams. He said even the largest and most recognized team on campus resorts to holding money-making events. “The football team usually has a golf tournament and for the past 10 years have held an auction of sports memorabilia that is sometimes autographed by famous athletes,” Lumley said. “Their team is so large that even they try to earn some extra money to help with expenses.”Larger sports may also earn funds through what are known as game guarantees.”Basically game guarantees give our players a chance to play against a larger Division 1A school and get paid for it,” Lumley said. “For instance, two or three years ago, our football team played against Texas A&M and received thousands of dollars for it.”Skeeters said the baseball team also benefits from game guarantees, but to a lesser degree.”I’m sure we don’t get nearly so much as the football team but each year we get $5,000 for playing three games in Austin against the University of Texas,” Skeeters said. “Whatever is left after our travel expenses we get to keep.”Lumley predicts fundraising by SHSU athletic teams isn’t likely to end anytime soon.”The fact is everyone would always like to have more money,” he said. “I think even if the teams were given more than they are now, they would still fundraise. There’s no such thing as too much money.”

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