JV athletic teams, varsity coaches suffer budget cuts

By Lara Fu Advertising Manager

The Montgomery County Council and the Montgomery County School Board of Education earlier this summer reached a decision to reduce the athletic budget by 10 percent to save more than $750,000, which resulted in a 20 percent reduction of JV sports schedules and a three-day furlough for all varsity coaches.

“Given the alternative of cutting specific sports entirely, I feel this was the best decision for this fiscal year,” athletic director Dave Kelley said.

According to a July Washington Post article, under the new budget cuts MCPS will only pay football coaches for one of each set of pre-season “two-a-day” practices. Coaches will be given the option to hold three additional practices for which they will not be paid.

Neither co-ed volleyball nor JV cheerleading was eliminated, though there was discussion surrounding the elimination of the two sports. According to the Post article, MCPS wanted to make changes that did not directly affect the students.

“I enjoy playing co-ed more than girls, just because it is more fast-paced than girls,” junior girls and co-ed volleyball player Adrianna Lee said. “I think the rest of the returning team would be really disappointed if co-ed was cut because I know we all really enjoy playing together.”

Cheerleading was significantly affected by the budget cuts. Varsity cheerleading will no longer cheer during the spring, and JV cheerleading is now limited to fall only. Varsity cheerleading will also only occasionally take buses to away games, as opposed to previous years when they took buses to every away game.

These changes were met with protest by JV cheerleaders.

“It’s a big deal because then JV teams have some support, since they don’t have many fans,” sophomore JV cheerleading captain Emily Lamoreaux said. “It’s really unfair for JV basketball. We were planning on just going anyway and wear[ing] CHS apparel to show support.”

All JV sports schedules were also reduced by two to four games each season.

“I’m not ecstatic about the changes,” sophomore JV field hockey captain Stephanie Michaels said. “But I understand why they were necessary. I wish things were different, but I think we just have to make the best of it.”

Kelley believes that eliminating JV teams altogether would “hinder the development” of high school athletes.

“Studies have shown that students engaged in interscholastic sports tend to perform better socially and academically,” Kelley said.

Junior Leslie Blalock, a varsity cheerleader, believes it is unfair to cut the sports budget so heavily, especially while spending is increasing in other areas.

“You shouldn’t compromise the athletics just because the budget decreases,” Blalock said.

Despite all the cuts made this year, Kelley remains hopeful.

“When MCPS experiences an increase in the budget I believe the athletic community will push to resume full scheduling of JV sports teams,” Kelley said.