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Is Bigger Always Better?

by Sandra Pfau Englund on Oct 20, 2016

There are at least 20 high school stadiums in America with a seating capacity between 10,000 – 21,000. Thirteen are in Texas, four in Ohio. You could even say there’s a football stadium competition going on in Texas. The McKinney School District is building a new $70 million football stadium that will seat 12,000 and the next school district over has a $60 million stadium that seats 18,000.

As a booster-club-backer, I was relieved to learn that these stadiums are funded by tax-payer approved bond packages rather than placing the fundraising burden on the backs of volunteer parent athletic boosters. The conversation about these huge stadiums though made me wonder about whether bigger is necessarily better.

For example, how do these school districts with jumbo-tron-sized stadiums avoid Title IX claims? All federally funded schools must comply with Title IX and its equal opportunity provisions. Although Title IX doesn’t require a dollar-for-dollar match in spending on male and female sports, schools must show that there are similar opportunities for boys and girls including similarity in the quantity and quality of equipment provided, the financial support for travel, fairness in assigning and paying quality coaches, and equal facilities, such as locker rooms, fields and arenas.

Schools routinely have to deal with the balance getting tipped when, for example, a volunteer athletic booster club makes a large donation to enhance a male-sport-facility and the school doesn’t ensure that equal facilities are available for girls’ sports. When you have multiple schools in a school district sharing a huge mixed-use facility (some stadiums accommodate 7-8 high schools for football, soccer, lacrosse, and band competitions), this becomes even more complex to track.

Huge stadiums have been a part of the American high school landscape for over a century. Stadium Bowl (capacity 15,000) was built in 1910 in Tacoma, WA; Fawcett Stadium (capacity 22,400) in Canton, OH was built in 1938. In fact, half of the 20 largest stadiums I looked at were built in 1940 or before. But in this day of Title IX considerations and asking the same people who pay for the stadium to also contribute to the booster club’s fundraisers just makes me wonder, is bigger always better?



The only organization of its kind in the US, Parent Booster USA is about helping school support organizations (parent teacher organizations, high school booster clubs and other school fundraising groups) handle the state and federal government paperwork required of fundraising groups.

Founded in 2004 by an attorney skilled in nonprofit and tax law, Parent Booster USA has more than 4,000 member organizations in 48 states with a 95% annual renewal rate. We provide peace of mind for parent volunteers, school administrators and school district leadership.


Sandra Pfau Englund

Founder of Parent Booster USA

Sandra Pfau Englund was a working mom in 2004 when she volunteered for her son’s elementary school PTO. The nonprofit and tax law attorney quickly became mired in trying to organize the group’s finances, tax-exempt status and fundraising compliance. If it was this complicated and time consuming for someone with her professional knowledge, she wondered how other parents and booster groups managed. From that experience, Parent Booster USA was born.

Sandra is a sought-after subject matter expert and has been quoted by NBC’s TODAY show and in Forbes and The Wall Street Journal, among others. She is published and speaks throughout the country on issues related to nonprofit legal liability, financial controls and audits in a post-Sarbanes-Oxley world, board development and fundraising.

Learn more at sandrapfauenglund.com.

YOU SUPPORT THEM, WE SUPPORT YOU

With PBUSA membership, we file all the IRS and state paperwork. We keep your booster club up and running year after year.