The Ohio High School Athletic Association plans to move forward with tournaments for all 26 of its sanctioned sports this school year, but will make cuts in other areas due a significant decrease in revenue from the cancellation of tournaments earlier this year and greatly reduced attendance permitted at upcoming tournaments.
The OHSAA Board of Directors recently approved the cuts to the OHSAA office and each of the six District Athletic Boards, which coordinate the sectional and district tournaments in several sports. OHSAA member schools have not paid annual membership dues since 1998, but those fees could be collected in the future.
As a private non-profit association, the OHSAA does not receive any tax dollars. Eighty percent of the association’s revenue comes from ticket sales at postseason tournament contests. The other 20 percent come from corporate partners and officials dues. The OHSAA has 815 member high schools and approximately 760 member seventh and eighth grade schools. The OHSAA currently has 18 full-time staff members.
Of note, the OHSAA dual team wrestling tournament has been suspended indefinitely, although the individual wrestling tournament, which will be in its 83rd year this year, will proceed as planned.
“Our mission remains the same – to serve our member schools and enrich interscholastic opportunities for students,” said Bob Goldring, OHSAA interim executive director. “That means we have an unwavering commitment to continue administering some of the best interscholastic athletics tournaments in the nation and honor our tradition of excellence. But the prospect of conducting all of our tournaments for the 2020-21 school year with spectator capacity limits of 15 percent, with no more than 1,500 permitted for outdoor events and 300 for indoor events, has already had a significant impact on the association from a financial standpoint. Since the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic became a reality for the OHSAA, the association has undergone major modifications to our business practices and overall procedures. This has included cuts of not only personnel but also salaries and benefits for full-time staff. We also have explored new, untraditional revenue streams that could prove to be beneficial, but even those are not guaranteed with the status of the world’s economy and no real end in sight for the pandemic.”
The cuts were based on recommendations from the OHSAA interim executive director’s staff following discussions that included the OHSAA Finance Committee, OHSAA Board of Directors members, executive directors from other state high school athletic associations and extensive internal deliberations that were headed by the OHSAA’s finance office.
“We need to make some unprecedented changes to our tournament financial model during the 2020-21 school year in order to ensure that we can continue to provide the overall outstanding services that our membership expects and to make certain that our programs continue to complement each participant’s educational experience,” said Goldring.
Cuts and other OHSAA financial changes include:
· Standard ticket pricing: All sectional and district tournament tickets will be sold online at $8.
· Presale ticket shares/bonuses: Football and basketball presale ticket shares/bonuses will not be paid out to member schools participating in 202021 OHSAA tournaments.
· Online tickets: Presale tournament tickets will be available for all sports and will be sold online. At this point we do not expect gate tickets will be offered.
· Team tournament expenses: No team expenses will be paid to member schools participating in 2020-21 OHSAA tournaments.
· Tournament entry fees: $25 tournament entry fees will be incorporated for the following sports: boys and girls bowling; boys and girls golf; gymnastics; boys and girls cross country; boys and girls tennis; boys and girls track & field, and boys and girls swimming & diving. As OHSAA “emerging” sports, boys and girls lacrosse will continue to have a $100 fee per gender.
· Other fees: Bowling tournament lane fees and golf tournament greens fees will not be paid by the OHSAA in 2020-21.
Other recent changes made by the OHSAA include:
· Reduction of three full-time staff positions and 20-percent pay cut for senior staff members, along with suspension of retirement contributions for all staff members. In addition, all part-time staff and intern positions have been eliminated.
· Suspension of several OHSAA publications, including OHSAA Magazine, the School Directory, Year in Review and Pocket Calendar.
· Suspension of the OHSAA Radio Network.
Submitted by Tim Stried, director of communications, Ohio High School Athletic Association.