Many times, coaches have to find ways for funding their mathematics team. During my career, I supplemented money allocated in our school budget for my team by sponsoring mathematics tournaments. Although I was a high school mathematics coach, I sponsored tournaments for elementary schools, middle schools and high schools. Sometimes I organized three tournaments during a school year.

In organizing a tournament, you need to find a date that does not conflict with dates that other schools will be hosting a tournament. You also need to determine if schools in your area are interested in participating at your tournament. Once you have assessed interest and have selected a date, you need to determine whether you will write the materials for the tournament or if you will purchase the materials from a vendor. You also need to talk to your principal or academic coordinator to get the date of your tournament on the school calendar. They need to know what facilities will be needed to host the tournament. Email addresses and mailing address need to be collected for schools you would like to attend your tournament. An email or letter providing coaches with important information needs to be written and delivered. It should include a tentative schedule of events, fees, site of contest, grade levels that are invited and deadline for entries.

A decision needs to be made on what awards there will be, and how many will be available for participants. Awards could be ribbons, medals, certificates or trophies. Once a decision on the type of awards is made, they need to be ordered. Plans you make may include meals for coaches or a snack bar for coaches and their students. A decision needs to be made for a holding room for students before each contest. Normally, this is a cafeteria. A grading room needs to be found. Flyers to be distributed during registration need to be written and copied. Preparations need to be made for how many copies need to be printed for participants. Proctors need to be found. These could be teachers in the host school or coaches attending the meet. At the high school level, team members could be assigned as proctors. A box with change will need to be available at the registration table. Coaches paying fees need to receive receipts showing payment. If an awards assembly will be held, time and location need to be provided for coaches and their students.

Tournaments are a great way of acquiring funds for your team. These funds can then be used to pay fees, meals, transportation, practice materials, team shirts and other supplies. Many times school budgets do not provide sufficient funds for a team to participate in as many tournaments as coaches would like to attend. Funds acquired by sponsoring tournaments, can also be used to finance an end of the year banquet for team members and their families. Although funding your mathematics team requires organization and hard work, it can contribute to the success your team achieves during the year.

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