By DAN SEWELL
CINCINNATI (AP) - For an increasing number of Ohio families, playing sports also means paying for sports.
Participation fees that can run into hundreds of dollars for each child have become a fact of life in many Ohio schools battling budget problems. A recent survey found about half of the state's high schools charge fees sports, and samplings also show that fees are getting higher and family discounts are being eliminated.
Parents, coaches, and school officials who worry about the long-term impacts on high school sports. Advocates say sports help young people develop teamwork, responsibility and other life skills, besides providing physical exercise in an era of childhood obesity.
But the trend to use fees to help pay for programs seems likely to continue to grow in a rough economic climate for schools.
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