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Carroll Hester and Steve Boyd share common concerns balancing athletic budgets in the midst of economic decline.
That is why each athletic leaders embraced South Carolina High School League realignment placing seven York County teams in Region 3-AAAA, effective the current school year.
Hester, the athletic director at Clover High School, and Boyd, the athletic director at York Comprehensive High, said they have seen a reduction in travel expenses during the fall sports season, with additional cost savings projected for the winter and spring seasons.
“Seven teams in the county make a difference from the standpoint of travel costs,” said Hester. “The schools are close together.
“Less travel also benefits parents and fans making the trips.”
Boyd shares Hester's sentiments regarding the financial relief brought about by the proximity of the seven York County schools.
“In previous years, we've been assigned to regions playing teams as far away as Clinton, Lugoff-Elgin and Camden,” he noted. “Playing teams that far away in today's economy would be a financial strain.”
Boyd said transporting YCHS teams to away games in all sports costs the athletic department $55,000 annually.
Activity buses transport athletes at a cost of $1.76 per mile.
Hester said fluctuating gas prices impact travel costs.
The cost for regular gas currently has dipped to the $3.09 per gallon range compared to $3.63 per gallon a short time ago.
“We'll take what we can get,” said Hester, “Every little bit helps.”
One-school community status benefits York and Clover, both ADs agree.
“Being a one-school community is a real asset,” commented Hester. “We have a large fan base that contributes to the booster club, touchdown club and various fundraisers.”
“A one-school community has its financial advantages,” he said. “Because of our loyal fan base, we haven't raised the athletic budget since 1996.
“The widespread support in this community helps keep a handle on spending.”
Hester said cost-saving measures are in place at Clover High to ease the financial burden associated with the downturn in the economy.
“The basketball varsity and jayvee girls share the same bus to away games,” he noted. “Also, the ninth-grade and jayvee boys basketball teams ride the same bus.”
With avid fan bases supporting both schools, Boyd noted that York and Clover athletes do not have to pay a fee to play sports.
“Some high schools charge as much as $50 to play sports,” said the YCHS AD.
Despite having to cope with financial restraints, Boyd and Hester seize the opportunity to promote high school athletics at their respective schools.
Boyd said the athletic department has widened its range in York School District One by expanding the number of sports available to student-athletes.
“We've added girls and boys jayvee soccer, swimming and wrestling at the high school,” he said. “York Middle School has added baseball, girls softball and boys and girls track.”
Said Hester, “With winter sports cranking up and spring sports participants in the early stages of conditioning, it's exciting times at Clover High School. We'll keep a close watch on spending and make sure we know where we are.”