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MABC ranks 8th in ESD booster club funding

The Mitchell Athletic Booster Club has supported Kernel athletics for years.

“The Booster Club is for the kids, and it’s our way of saying thank you for the entertainment you bring to our community,” MABC treasurer Becky Weier said, adding the funds given out to MHS athletics are to pay for equipment, meals, warm-up outfits, etc., and everything the Booster Club helps fund is embroidered with “MABC.”

Weier estimated the amount the Booster Club gives to Kernel athletics is between $5,000 and $8,000 each year. She added the amount varies from year to year based on what the needs of the coaches are.

That amount ranks eighth amoung the nine Eastern South Dakota Conference booster clubs. Brandon Valley’s Booster Club gives out the highest amount to its athletic programs at $70,000, according to Booster Club President John Reinschmidt. Huron hands out the lowest amount, giving $2,000 per year to its sports teams, according to Huron Athletic Director Terry Rotert.

Most of the booster clubs in the ESD raise money from golf tournaments, 50/50 raffles and memberships. Other items booster clubs sponsor are scholarships and team requests or wish lists.

Randy Vance, a longtime booster club president in Pierre, thinks there is a tie between the amount of money given to athletics and how the teams perform. Part of the funds given to athletics by Pierre’s Booster Club is for athletes to attend camps during the offseason, said Vance.

“I know we have a lot of kids that would not be able to go to camps if we didn’t give the money, so I’d have to say funding for us does translate to how a team performs,” Vance said.

In Mitchell, the Booster Club’s annual donations aren’t for camps. Funds are raised by the individual team or each athlete and put toward offseason camps.

Of the Class AA Sioux Falls schools, all four — Lincoln, Roosevelt, Washington and O’Gorman — give at least $50,000 per year to their athletic programs. The three public Sioux Falls Class AA school Booster Clubs bring in a majority of their funds from the Presidents’ Bowl.

The Warrior Booster Club, which includes all athletic teams, fine arts programs and clubs, gives between $90,000 and $100,000 back to its programs. Michelle Eggebraaten, membership chairperson of the SFW Booster Club, said many of the athletic programs have their own groups that fund for their sport.

Mitchell High School athletic programs also fund a lot of their own money. For example, the football team sells Kernel cards every year and coach Kent VanOverschelde said the team makes an average of $9,500 per year from the fundraiser. He said the money is used for camps, awards and scholarships, to name a few.

Mitchell Activities Director Geoff Gross said funding in some of the larger Class AA schools in the state does play a factor in performance, but the biggest component is numbers.

“It’s a snowball effect,” he said. “The main thing is the size of the schools and everything goes from there. More people often leads to more money into camps, equipment and the little things that make programs in the 21st century attractive to students.”

The gap between in football has been measured and dealt with accordingly with the Class 11AAA classification. Gross said it’s the sport that’s most affected by numbers, and volleyball is beginning to become a Sioux Falls-dominated sport in the state as well. In 2011, all four Sioux Falls schools made the state volleyball tournament and the championship game has hosted two Sioux Falls schools for the past three state tournaments.

“Do I think we need to have a new class in volleyball or basketball? No, I don’t,” he said. “It’s not impossible for team programs to compete with them, but it’s going to be tough if they continue to grow.”

Gross said the ESD is important because of the gap in fundraising.

“Year in and year out, the conference gives us something to compete for and gives us something to measure up against,” he said. “ESD schools have similar issues that way.”

ESD booster club funds

Here is a list of the amounts Booster Clubs from Eastern South Dakota Conference schools give out annually to their athletic programs. Booster Club presidents and school athletic directors said these amounts vary from year to year.

Brandon Valley: $70,000

Aberdeen Central: $40,000

Yankton: $25,000

Harrisburg: $10,000-$25,000

Pierre: $20,000

Watertown: $15,000

Brookings: $8,000

Mitchell: $5,000-$8,000

Huron: $2,000

Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.