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COMMENTARY: Ticket prices revamped to help HCHS athletics thrive in an increasingly competitive world

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By Lee Kendall

A little clarification is perhaps needed to explain the somewhat new and revamped athletic ticket policies at Harrison County High School.

First, it is important to understand that our athletic department at HCHS is almost 100 percent self sufficient. Fortunately, we have had in the past, and continue to have now, a central office and board of education that is understanding of the importance of athletics to our community, our school and, most importantly, to our student athletes.

Currently, HCHS offers every sport for which there is a KHSAA state championship except a diving team. We also offer a couple of sports that have not yet attained that level in bowling and archery.

The board does appropriate substantial funding to pay for coaches salaries, help defray some transportation expenses and to balance the gender playing field through some Title IX monies earmarked for girls teams only. However, each sport at HCHS is expected to pay its own way when it comes to purchasing equipment, paying officials, field preparation, paying for most of the transportation expenses and many other miscellaneous items.

The primary source of revenue with which we fund our athletic programs comes through ticket sales at our home events. Traditionally, our biggest revenue-producing sports have been football and basketball games.

If we have particularly good years in football and basketball, as it pertains to ticket sales, those sports have historically helped out with funding some non-revenue sports.

Historically, we have had two categories of sports at HCHS ... revenue-producing sports and non-revenue producing sports. Essentially, if admission tickets were sold, that sport was considered a revenue-producing sport.

The non-revenue sports were still expected to generate revenue with which to operate their respective sports. This almost always meant the coaches and booster clubs had to fund raise. Fund-raising almost always involves soliciting money, in some shape or form, from businesses or individuals and in a community our size, it is the same businesses and individuals that get hit on all the time.

Though fund-raising will still certainly occur, some of those sports will now have an alternative source of revenue through ticket sales.

Another misconception that may be making the rounds is that somehow the money that is generated through ticket sales is being spent in places it should not be spent. By law, any money generated through ticket sales must be spent on the student-athletes and the student-athletes only.

No money generated through ticket sales can be spent on coaches, administrators or any person other than student athletes. When a team goes on a trip and a meal is involved, up-front money can be appropriated to the players, but not to the coaches. Coaches are expected to pay for their own meals and can be reimbursed later.

As the person responsible for administrating the entire athletic program at HCHS, I have to make sure that coaches stay within their budgets, but also that each coach has the best opportunity possible to put a winning product on the field or court, and, to a large extent, that means spending money to make sure there are enough good quality basketballs, football helmets, tennis balls, uniforms, etc.

After careful consideration, we have made some alterations in our ticket prices and packages that was announced last week. Here is the final admission pricing policy for all HCHS events for the 2008-09 school year.

Football, boys basketball and girls basketball -- $5 for adults, $3 for all school-aged students; senior citizens (60 years of age) will be charged student prices.

Boys and girls soccer, volleyball, wrestling, baseball, softball, boys and girls track -- $4 for adults, $3 for students and seniors.

All freshman and or junior varsity events -- $3 for adults and $2 for students and seniors.

Discounted Ticket Packages

Adults

All Sports Pass (good for admission to all home regular season events, excluding tournaments and special events, approximately 50 home events) -- $125

14-game pass (good for any 14 varsity, junior varsity or freshman contests) -- $50

Students

All Sports Pass (good for admission to all home regular season events, excluding tournaments and special events, approximately 50 home events) -- $50

14-game pass (good for any 14 varsity, freshman, or junior varsity contests) -- $30

The all sports passes and 14-game passes will be available for sale at the high school beginning on Monday, July 28. Passes will also be available for purchase at high school orientation and registration and at all HCHS sports events.