Shrewsbury Athletics Needs Sponsorships To Avoid Cuts

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Shrewsbury athletics need may need to be sponsored before they are cut.
Shrewsbury athletics need may need to be sponsored before they are cut. Photo Credit: John Swinconeck (file)

SHREWSBURY, Mass. — What if Shrewsbury High School Gym was no longer called the Shrewsbury High School gym? What if it were called the Wagner BMW Gym or the Buca Di Bippo Center?

Such a scenario may occur in the future to alleviate the athletic department's budget woes.

Shrewsbury School Superintendent Joseph Sawyer said the district needs to reach out to local businesses and provide sponsorship opportunities. The alternative could mean cuts in the athletic program or increasing the financial burden on Shrewsbury families. The district's goal, he said, is to raise $75,000 through sponsorships in 2013.

"This is not a charity situation," Sawyer told the school committee on Jan. 9. "We're looking for win-win partnerships."

Sponsorship opportunities would include advertising space in the Shrewsbury School Journal, inclusion in a new Shrewsbury Athletics email news letter, and inclusion in the athletic department's website. For $15,000 or more, businesses could see their names on scoreboards, and, for $25,000, they could be mentioned during PA announcements at games.

The athletic department was hit with $70,000 in cuts last year as part of a larger, $2.5 million school district deficit. The department lost another $15,000 to $20,000 in lost gate receipts due to the cancellation of night events over the fall.

Shrewsbury Athletic Director Jay Costas said the sponsorships discussed are not typical of high schools. "This is more of a college approach," he said.

School Committee member John Samia said that, while he applauded the sponsorship initiative, he was concerned about the state of the athletic department's budget.

"It's a sad commentary," he said. "It's something we have to do, but is something we shouldn't have to do."

School Committee Chair Erin Canzano echoed Samia's comments. "It's a sobering situation," she said.

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It’s sad how everything has changed so much since when I was in school 25 years ago. What’s really a shame is how some kids will never get to play sports because, of all things, their parents can't afford the fees.

Unfortunately, I’m afraid it will all get worse before it gets better. By the time my two young daughters are in high school (insert loud scream here), the football players will be wearing gaudy Herb Chambers uniforms and it will cost more for one student to play football than it will to take a family of four to a Patriots game.

That is … if there is still a football program then!