Samo administration is in the process of creating an official policy to regulate the ordering of rooter buses to transport students to away sports games after fans were confused by the ordering of rooter buses for boys’ and girls’ basketball playoff games.
Before the current school year began, administration decided to eliminate rooter buses in order to reduce costs. Due to miscommunication, many students are under the impression that this policy is a result of conflicts that arose because of the way rooter buses were assigned.
According to M-House Principal Larry Boone, because parents and students are demanding rooter buses, administration is now trying to come up with a solution to this problem by creating a policy.
“We decided that we wouldn’t have rooter buses prior to the year,” Boone said. “We need to sit down and come up with a policy in order to order buses.”
Though Samo has had rooter busses in the past, ordering a bus is not required.
“A school doesn’t have to provide a rooter bus, even though it’s great for far away games,” Boone said.
According to Athletic Director Daniel Escalera, the reason rooter buses were decided against for this year is because of a lack of proper funding.
“I order a bus if enough people ask me to. However, because we spend a lot of money ordering the bus, and then not everyone decides to go, we end up losing money,” Escalera said. “Many students demand a rooter bus and then they don’t even go on it.”
According to Escalera, because boys’ basketball made it to the playoffs this year, many students asked for a rooter bus so they could attend the away game. Because of the request, administration reconsidered their previous decision to have no rooter buses for the 2011-2012 school year. However, in the end they decided against ordering a rooter bus. Had the rooter bus been ordered, cheerleaders would have also used it as transportation and attended the game to cheer for the boys’ basketball team.
“I personally went to the [boys’ basketball quarterfinal] game to cheer on the team because I felt that it was unfair that they didn’t have many fans cheering them on,” varsity cheerleader Dominique Parks said. “Had all of our squad gone, the moral of the game would have been better and it could have pumped the basketball team up more, and possibly helped them [win].”
The bus was not ordered. However, because girls’ basketball also made it to playoffs and was not considered for a rooter bus, a disagreement ensued between parents of the girls’ basketball players and administrators. Parents felt it was unfair that boys’ basketball had the opportunity to be considered for a rooter bus, which would bring fans and cheerleaders to the game, while girls’ basketball was not.
“I’m aware that a parent from the girls’ team threatened to sue because it seemed unfair,” Escalera said. “Truth is, though, I only order a bus when they’re in high demand from the students.”
According to ASB member Nima Shajarian, the situation could be improved if ASB and the administration communicated more efficiently.
“[ASB is] in charge of getting people to go on the rooter bus with things like permission slips and publicity, but administration never told us that a bus for girls’ basketball was requested,” Shajarian said. “We had no idea.”
According to soccer player Elliot Baumohl, not having rooter buses will affect the entire school by lowering school spirit.
“As an athlete, there is nothing that gets me more amped for a game than all of my peers showing up. Our admin’s goal for this year is to ‘unify’ our school, and this decision only hurts our school spirit,” Baumohl said.
According to varsity boys’ basketball coach James Hecht, sports are very important factors in school unity, and not having a rooter bus would negatively affect unity at Samo.
“Athletics is one of the many activities on campus that helps build school spirit. It’s unfortunate that we won’t have a rooter bus to give transportation to students who would like to attend [games],” Hecht said.
According to Hecht, school spirit is not the only thing the administration had to consider when canceling the rooter buses. The school was losing money by ordering them. However, Hecht feels that there are ways the administration could make rooter buses work regarding the finances.
“If [the] administration had a five dollar fee for everyone who would like to support the teams it would help,” Hecht said. “Or if they had a minimum [number] of people. Like if they were to say ‘we need at least 30 people to order the bus.’”
According to wrestling coach Mark Black, many students, sports players and coaches are hoping that this situation will be resolved so that there will be rooter buses in years to come. According to Black, a crowd is one of the factors that motivates a player to do his or her best.
“A team really needs the support from fans,” Black said. “It’s one of the most important things for a good game. It keeps the players excited.”