Students playing on Carleton’s Division III athletic teams incur significant financial burdens for representing their schools. Carleton’s varsity teams are at a lower priority in the budget, something it has in common with most Division III schools in their league and around the country. Students playing in the sport do receive gear and uniforms from the coaches. The football team for example, has their expenses for away games. Yet the repayment for travel expense varies. The football team has their expenses in terms of travelling to away games paid for, though some players argue that there are insufficient funds to facilitate bonding activities. Those activities, which are a common act for sports teams, are paid for and organised by the athletes separately from the team.
However, the greatest expense is the cost of the spring trips taken by several teams. Women’s tennis Player Joyce Yu and her teammates had to spend around 300-500 dollars in order to purchase flights to and from Arizona for their trip. Tennis, baseball and frisbee are required to embark on such a trip in order to compete and train effectively during the long winter months. Spring trip destinations include South Carolina, Florida, Arizona, Texas and California. The baseball team uses a different model. Each student pays around 500-600 for the year as a nominal spring reach fee. The money from these fees is used to supplement the teams budget overall; hence the fees owed vary from year to year according to the amount of donations received from parents. For Jordan Zoellmer of the baseball team, this cost runs between $2000 and $2500 for the duration of his time at Carleton.
“Most players’ parents pay for it….It’s not an insignificant amount of money for my family, but my parents pay for it and for that I’m thankful.” Although most of the students are able to pay for it, there are also opportunities for athletes to earn money working for the coach or the college in order to cover the cost of the spring trip.
Some athletes argue that the current level of funding impedes their teams. The football team often has to rely on voluntary or unpaid coaches and lack some of the more modern training equipment, making some forms of training such as speed impossible. The small size of the weights room in the West Gym makes it difficult for the team to engage in-group weights room, as there is not enough equipment or space in the room for the entire team to weight train at once. Though team training is often a recommended practice for athletes as a measure of perfecting technique, and building team comrade. This is made impossible due to the small size of the weight room.
All frustrations aside, there is recognition among the various players that this is the nature of Division III sports. Although players have found the costs associated with Carleton varsity athletics to be worthwhile, it is undeniable that there is a significant price for those wishing to participate.