Student athletes hit hard by school funding cuts

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Rich Van Wyk/ Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - Athletic directors from more than 300 Indiana high schools are meeting in Indianapolis this week. Funding and program cuts are among the biggest issues of their four day convention.

"It is going to be a very difficult time and I think in the next two or three years it is going to get tougher than it is right now," said Butch Zike, Indiana Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association President.

Across the state, funding cuts are reducing or eliminating some middle school sports programs and high schools are requiring athletes to pay hundreds of dollars to play.

"It is going to hurt your kids. It is going to hurt your feeder program it is going to hurt your programs over all. If you don't have good programs, people aren't going to attend. If people don't attend your revenue is not going to be there to sustain the athletic program. So it is a circle you've got to make sure you can end so it doesn't kill your athletic program," Zike said.

The pay to play money is used to pay coaches salaries, but athletic directors argue that coaches salaries amount to just two percent of the school budget and that everything else, uniforms, equipment and pay for referees has to be paid for with ticket admissions.

Now, the IIAAA will be discussing naming rights and sponsorships as ways to make up for lost funding

You can expect to see more company names and other advertisements appearing on stadiums, gymnasium walls and score boards.

Even with these changes, athletic directors fear student opportunities will be limited.

"Obviously the kids are going to pay for this, because there are less opportunities, you can't finance everything you've done in the past," Zike said. "Kids are going to pay for it with their money, that is going to limit them. And actually kids, the community, the parents are going to pay for this, because I cannot print money."