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Fundraisers aim to save Placer football buses

By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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With the Placer High football budget in a $15,000 deficit, Hillmen fans have stepped up to coordinate three fundraisers to fill the gap. If the money isn’t raised, the team won’t be able to afford bus transportation to away games this year, according to Placer High Athletic Director Mark Lee. Placer High football parent Judy Sage, of Auburn, decided to put her planning skills to use and spearhead the campaign. Fundraising events slated for October include a full day of events at Courthouse Athletic, a golf tournament and a Mardi Gras Dinner and Dance Party. Sage said the Placer High football program helped her sons develop leadership skills and build positive relationships. Riding the bus to away games gives coaches and athletes valuable time together, according to Sage. She hopes the fundraisers bring in enough money to save transportation for the freshman, JV and varsity teams. “As the parent of current and former students I believe Placer High School’s wonderful sports program has helped so many young people develop skills and become successful adults,” Sage said. “On the bus you have a captive audience. That is a chance for the players to have the coaches’ attention.” The event Oct. 8 at Courthouse Athletic is a joint-venture with Colfax and Bear River High Schools. Throughout the day there will be a 5K run/walk, volleyball tournament, horseshoe tournament, racquetball tournament, spin-a-thon and swim-a-thon. Participants can designate which school they would like their donation to go toward, with all proceeds benefitting the schools’ athletic programs. A golf tournament sponsored by Black Oak Golf Course is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 16. Each $50 ticket buys participants a round of 9-hole golf, cart, range balls, dinner and two drink tickets. All proceeds go toward the Placer football program. Sponsorship for holes, a raffle and an adopt-an-athlete program are also in the works. Hillmen football enthusiasts can also save the date to party Bourbon-style at the Mardi Gras Dinner and Dance Party hosted by the Power Club. While details are still being worked out, Sage said she envisions a dance party parading through Downtown Auburn. Lee said since an e-mail was sent to parents informing them of the deficit for transportation funding more donations have come in, bringing the total to $9,500. Last year at this time the program had already collected $18, 643. This year, the football program has already spent $19,000 on helmets, reconditioning of helmets and officials, Lee said. To pay for transportation, the program needs to raise money to cover the costs that have already been spent, in addition to the buses. Lee said economic hardship may be one reason for the drop in donations, but he is grateful for the many donations that have already been made. With the more strict enforcement of a law banning public schools from requiring fees or donations to participate in sports, and state budget cuts in education, Lee said it is becoming increasingly difficult to plan the athletics budget. “It is all soft money,” Lee said. “You never know from year-to-year.” Placer High football parent Sidne Allinger, of Auburn, said without transportation it will be difficult for parents to be able to help. To drive other students they are required to pass a background check and have a higher-level of insurance. Allinger also said that she encourages parents to donate to the football booster club, rather than the school athletic fund, so they will know for sure the money is going toward the football program. She said she believes the pay-to-play regulations are doing more harm than good for students and change needs to be affected at the state and federal levels, not at the school-level. “It will not restore itself through another bake sale or raffle. It has to come from a revolution,” Allinger said. Sage said for now she hopes the Auburn community will come together through these fundraisers to show support for their local high school football team. “This is not just about the football program,” Sage said. “It’s about the community and our ability to come together and support each other in times of need. Our town needs football. It is a Placer tradition.” Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com