In this file photo from the Division II softball state championship members of the Jonathan Alder Lady Pioneers pose with the trophy. Recently the OHSAA voted to require membership dues that will go toward tournament entry and payment for trophies. (Journal-Tribune photo by Sam Dillon)
With the sports season cancelled last year due to COVID-19, the Ohio High School Athletic Association is looking for new ways to increase their revenue.
Member High schools will have to start paying membership dues to the OHSAA, the governing body of high school athletics in the state, if they want to participate in association-sponsored tournaments.
The move came recently after the board of directors unanimously voted to approve the motion. The OHSAA has not collected dues since 1998.
The motion came after a year of a cancelled season and tournaments that impacted OHSAA’s ability to collect revenue from ticket sales.
“We traditionally have relied on tournament ticket sales for about 80% of our revenue,” said Doug Ute, OHSAA executive director, in a press release. “That financial model has not been sustainable and the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly not helped. 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.”
Beginning at the start of the upcoming school year, schools will be required to pay $50 per OHSAA sanctioned sport that the school offers. OHSAA sports are football, volleyball, cross-country, soccer, golf, field hockey, basketball, swimming, bowling, wrestling, gymnastics, ice hockey, baseball, softball, track and field, tennis and lacrosse.
According to the OHSAA, dues will range from $300 to $1,300 per year, depending on the school, with dues never to exceed $100 per sport.
The dues will go toward student scholarships, insurance, trophies and plaques, rulebooks and sports manuals. The biggest change will be in the fees associated with individual sports. The OHSAA will now pay for all tournament entry fees, golf green fees, bowling lane fees and wrestling weight management fees.
For one local school the dues will not impact operations.
Triad will be charged $600 in total for there, football, cross-country, volleyball, golf, basketball, wrestling, baseball, softball and track and field teams.
The Cardinals Athletic Director Logan Dunn has already been finding ways to supplement the budget so the cost is not pushed on to the student-athletes.
“Solely relying on ticket sales even before the OHSAA dues would make it almost impossible for any athletic department to continue to improve,” Dunn said. “I take great pride in finding additional revenue throughout the year to help. With the additional revenue that we receive, the added OHSAA dues will not impact our students’ athletics experience at Triad.”
North Union will be required to pay $750, while Fairbanks will be paying $850. Jonathan Alder and Marysville each offer 19 OHSAA sports and will have to pay $950 in dues. The money will be due by the beginning of the school year.