In today's pinched economy, enrolling kids in school sports (search) comes with a price in some schools.

A growing number of public schools have decided they don't have enough money to fund athletic programs, so they're hitting students' parents up for cash if they want their kids to play on a team.

The system has become so common that it has a name — "Pay to play" (search) — and can require parents to pay fees in the hundreds of dollars.

Critics say that "Pay to play" is downright unfair and will discourage many students — especially those from lower-income families — from participating in school sports.

The schools argue that until they're better funded and can afford extracurricular sports again, they have no choice but to charge students to join.

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