YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Ohio High School Athletic Association will start charging membership dues. That means, starting in the fall, more than 50 high schools from here in the Valley will have to pay to play.
The cost is $50 per sport in annual dues. The recommendation was unanimously approved by the OHSAA Board of Directors, but it has not been well received by local membership.
“Wrong I guess would be the only politically correct thing I could say. This is wrong,” said Bob Spaite, Region 8 director of the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association.
Spaite has spent 28 years as the head football coach at Columbiana. He also served 12 years as the school’s athletic director. Spaite says his first issue with Monday’s announcement is that the 817 member schools across the state never voted on it.
“The people that are in the trenches that have to work this, that have a vested interest in making sure it’s done correctly, were never asked their opinion,” Spaite said.
Fifty dollars doesn’t seem like much, but it adds up quickly. Depending on the number of sanctioned sports each school offers, the total dues will range between $300 and $1,300 per school every year. That means the OHSAA will collect, anywhere between $245,100 and $1,062,100 in annual revenue from their membership.
In a release from the OHSAA, Executive Director Doug Ute said, “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 went on to say that he has also received “favorable feedback” from the majority of member schools he spoke with.
“I’ll bet you a steak dinner, at the restaurant of your choosing, if there is a majority, if there is favorable feedback from 240 Northeast Ohio athletic directors, I would be stunned if that was the case,” Spaite said
“It seems to me that the OHSAA and I don’t know how they’re going to spin it otherwise. They’re trying to make up their losses in one year,” Spaite added. “I just think they’re doing it in a somewhat unjust fashion.”