What I saw was what a lot of people saw, those attempting to buy a ticket for a high school playoff game. Someone made the case at Minster’s game…”I can buy a ticket to watch a college game for less.” Sadly, he was right.
The long list of lopsided scores in the opening round of the OHSAA football playoffs was certainly a topic on weekend social media.
And locally, the scores were gruesome from those #1 vs. #16 games and #2 versus #15 games. If you want to take the time to look online, numerous people took the time to do the math on how many blowouts there were across the state. The number of five touchdown margins will make your head spin.
For those of you who like 16 teams in a region, and still hold out hope for a #16 beating a #1 (or maybe world peace), I can think of only two games off the top of my head where a #15 actually beat a #2. The odds will never be in your favor, and it’s certainly not worth $15 to watch, or to wait, which was the second hot topic from opening weekend.
Ticket prices, set by the OHSAA, were $15 if you went to the game and attempted to buy a ticket at the gate, which prompted people in some areas to turn around, get in their cars, and go home. Our email was brisk on Saturday and Sunday with people responding to the recent column about expansion of the regions…and some calling attention to the August article in the Toledo Blade (David Briggs wrote it) that reported the OHSAA sitting on as much as $18 million dollars in the bank.
“$18 million in their pocket and they have the gall to charge people $15 for a high school football game? Shameful.” wrote Nick Roberts.
“There is nothing sacred anymore, or free of suspicion. Even high school sports.” shared James Woods.
“At the Minster game someone added, “I can buy a ticket to see UD play for less.”
The list was long. Patience was short.
A state representative, Jay Edwards from the 94th district (Meigs, Athens, Vinton and Washington counties), took to Facebook and posted the following:
“Although I know a lot of great people that work in conjunction with the OHSAA, they should be ashamed of themselves for charging $15 for a ticket to see a high school playoff game. These games are supposed to be about the school, community, team, band, cheerleaders, and families. But for the OHSAA it is only about the money. There will be many family members miss games because of these outrageous costs. Unacceptable. I will be introducing legislation dealing with this topic soon. Stay tuned.”
It is what it is…what I shared with people who brought the price hike to my attention regarding Friday night. According to the OHSAA, the increase in prices is necessary to hire additional security for the games that take cash, additional staff to count the money, and increased cost for auditors because there has to be one for online sales, and one for cash. One can make the point…all problems brought on by themselves. It’s still pretty easy to sell cash tickets, cut out online ticketing altogether, and allow tournament managers to balance tickets versus cash.
Cut your costs, not the throats of those who just want to see local kids play.
But they’re not going to do that, and as a result of complaints about competitive balance, lack of funding for schools that host tournament games, travel reimbursements, and the ever-increasing cost of playing high school sports, and paying for it…the OHSAA is burning a lot of bridges with Main Street, Ohio.
They seem naive to the fact that 9 of 10 people you question simply want them to run the state tournament. That’s it. Which is another basis for naivete’, because like it or not, there is a need for basic oversight.
But everything they touch turns to expense, and that expense gets passed on to school districts and consumers, as if it were classic retail. But it’s not classic retail. In retail we’re taught that the customer is always right. With the OHSAA, the customer need not complain.
If there’s any question about that, observe the photo sent to me Sunday of the home stands at Cincinnati Taft’s home playoff game Friday. Here’s why tickets are $15, to offset the games where no one shows up.
Like Jay Edwards, we all have known great people that have worked in conjunction with the OHSAA for years – people you could never doubt as to their commitment for what really was best for high school sports. But from what I’ve witnessed since Covid, the bailout money they received, the article in the Toledo Blade, and people’s own instincts now about people in government of any kind, those attitudes have changed.
I regret it…because OHSAA people are those you want to believe. Good people, in many cases, that have forgotten that 50-50 drawings used to be about local school support, period.
That have forgotten that people in the school district already pay enough through taxes to support high school sports as a critical part of the total educational experience, without paying for an extra auditor.
How about some respect for the people, as well as the game?
Times are hard enough without creating more. It is…what it is!