COLUMBUS — Greene County high schools will have to pay to play this fall.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Directors Monday unanimously approved a recommendation from OHSAA Executive Director Doug Ute that membership dues be collected beginning with the 2021-22 school year. The measure means for the first time, each Ohio high school will contribute $50 per OHSAA sanctioned sport in which the school participates.
It is estimated that schools will pay between $300 and $1,300 depending on the number of sanctioned sports the school offers.
“First, I want to thank our board of directors for unanimously approving my recommendation,” Ute said in a release. “I also have received favorable feedback from the majority of the administrators with whom I have conversed at our member schools. Levying membership dues does not change our mission, which is to serve our member schools and enrich interscholastic opportunities for students.”
The OHSAA traditionally relied on tournament ticket sales for approximately 80 percent of its revenue. Ute said that financial model “has not been sustainable” and the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t particularly help as attendance has been limited.
”Levying membership dues will give us a steady line of income since many of our other lines are variable, and it will help us build a new, more sustainable revenue model,” Ute said. “That model, which will help ensure our long-term sustainability, will be a combination of a wider variety of income streams — including these dues — and continued better management of our expenses.”
The dues will be reviewed annually by an OHSAA Finance Committee and any modifications will be recommended to the board by the executive director. In the future, dues will not exceed $100 per sport.
The move didn’t exactly thrill Bellbrook Athletic Director Charlie O’Dell.
“Not happy about it, but there doesn’t really seem to be another way for the OHSAA to do it,” he said in an email. “They have had dwindling ticket revenue for years.”
The Golden Eagles will have to fork over $1,050 next year for the 21 sports the district offers.
O’Dell said Bellbrook will not raise its ticket prices to recoup the money, but the Southwestern Buckeye League is going to raise prices for the first time in 15 years, which coincides with division realignment and the exodus of Milton-Union, Dixie, Preble Shawnee and Northridge.
“Now is the perfect time to do so,” O’Dell said, adding that SWBL schools lost around $35,000 in ticket revenue.
Based on sports offered this school year Beavercreek will pay $1,150; Cedarville $600; Carroll $1,150; Fairborn $1,050 Greeneview $1,10; Legacy Christian $900; Yellow Springs $600; and Xenia $1,100.
Schools will be able to save some money, however, as they will no longer pay any tournament entry fees, bowling lineage fees, golf green fees, or wrestling weight management fees. The membership dues are all-inclusive.
“We will continue to be open and transparent with our member schools about our financial situation,” Ute said. “If we are able to adjust dues in the future, we will look to do so. I want to sincerely thank all of our school administrators for their work and efforts in helping to provide participation opportunities for our student-athletes during these uncertain times, and we appreciate the support they have given us in continuing to conduct our tournaments.”
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.