Balancing Equality in Montclair High School Sports Teams

Nicole Clement, Staff Writer

Student-athletes at Montclair High School (MHS) tend to each have different takeaways on how much their sport matters in the eyes of the school and the administration. Whether it be that certain teams seem to get new uniforms each year, or the amount of spectators that come to each team’s competitions, students believe the numbers seem to be further skewed towards teams that are well-funded and highly publicized.

“The publicity really comes from the teams,” Dr. Scarpello, head of athletics at MHS says.  He then asked, “Which team do you think gets the most publicity?” Most people assume it is football, but it is actually soccer, Scarpello said. In fact, some Saturday football games only have three to five parents cheering the players on while both girls and boys soccer usually have an entire stand of fans.

Dr. Scarpello said he believes that this is based on “student interest” or it can depend on if other students choose to support their friends on a given team.  Each sport receives the same amount of publicity, with the exception of the monitor in the front of the main entrance of MHS, broadcasting any team that partakes in a championship game.

It has also been rumored that some teams have multiple uniforms while others are forced to wash and re-wear uniforms each time they have a game. The school actually provides each team with home and away uniforms; any other uniforms are purchased from external sales. For example, the football team has three sets of uniforms, but one of them came from the donations from parents. For swimming and gymnastics the uniforms stick with the same student for all four years due to hygienic purposes.

The rest of the teams reuse the same uniforms for four years on varsity and are given back at the end of each season. Then, they are passed down to junior varsity for another four years. The two exceptions to this rule; golf and boys’ tennis, receive new uniforms each year as golf polos tend to get unhygienic at a rapid speed, and boys’ tennis wears t-shirts, which are more cost efficient than the other teams’ jerseys. The fact is, sports only make up 2% of the school’s budget and there are a total of 66 teams. 

Another issue many student-athletes have complained about is the problem with bussing. This year, some teams have taken DeCamp busses whilst the others take school busses. Dr. Scarpello clarified that these decisions are not made on a day to day basis, but they are made at least a month in advance. Therefore, issues such as funding and publicity have no effect on bussing decisions.