‘Free for All’

No admission charge at home sporting events for Perry Township students


Grace Elder

SHS Athletic Director Brian Murphy speaks to the freshman class about getting involved in high school sports on July 29.

Perry Township decided to make sporting events free for all students this year. Every event hosted by Southport and Perry Meridian Middle and High Schools are included. The only events excluded are the IHSAA and Marion County tournaments, as they are not run by Perry Township.
There are many reasons that the township chose to make this change, but the principal one is to help bring back the student engagement that existed before COVID-19.
Superintendent Pat Mapes spoke about the plan and the reason behind it.
“It just seems through the pandemic we had a real disconnect of our students to after school activities,” Mapes said.
Students in grades 9-12 will be able to attend high school games for free by showing their student ID badges. Students K-8 will be able to attend for free with their ID if they are accompanied by a paying adult. Students in middle school will be able to attend middle school games for free with their ID. If attending games at the middle schools, students in grades K-6 and 9-12 will need to be accompanied by a paying adult.
“Our job is to make sure that when students come (to games), that they have a great time, and that’s what we’re gonna do,” SHS Athletic Director Brian Murphy said.
According to Murphy, the plan has been floating around the minds of the athletic directors’ for a long time, but it was the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent who set the plan in motion.
Senior Booster Club member Dariely Raudales hopes that this new policy will help encourage more student participation at games and therefore increase Cardinal pride.
“I think (school spirit) will go up because they’ll get to be involved and be part of the whole student section and spirit and do all the little chants that they get to miss out when they’re not able to go, and it’ll help them feel involved in the whole process,” Raudales said.
Funding lost from student ticket sales will be pulled from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, which addresses the impact COVID-19 had on schools and students.
“We’re leveraging those federal dollars, and we’re going to provide a payment to all four athletic departments,” Mapes said.
Money from concessions is also another way athletics will get funding.
The goal for providing free admission to all students is that it will reconnect students to their community and respark school spirit throughout the township.
“I hope students come on every night we have an after-school event and cheer, get some school spirit going,” Mapes said.