Gas Prices a Challenge for Mesa State Athletes

This Saturday, the Mesa State Football team has a game in Ellensberg Washington, but the team’s real opponent isn’t Central Washington University: it’s high gas prices.

"The problem is obviously to get them into Denver to get them into Seattle and on to Central Washington's campus," says Bryan Rooks, assistant athletic director for Mesa State College.

The price tag for this weekend: about $50,000.

That's two bus rides, nearly 60 plane tickets, possible extra costs because of all the teams gear and that's just the beginning.

Rooks says that the costs of bussing teams has increased 30 to 40 percent and that is the form of travel used most often for Mesa's fifteen teams to travel all over the RMAC region from Nebraska to New Mexico.

"Every year it seems there's something that has to be adjusted for and it just happens to be this year it's the travel,” says Rook.

This time, a cheerleading squad who would normally be on the sidelines, will be cheering their team on from over a thousand miles away. Nearly half of the football team will be left behind.

The athletics department says that their goal is a national championship and that means making their team available to the best competition out there - regardless of how far it may be.

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