2012 brings pay to
participate to Tiffin
Thank you for a bulk of that quote, Mark Twain.
From literature to economics 101, it doesn't take a whole lot of education to know that a budget which exceeds projected revenue requires a reduction in expenses, and/or fundraising. In a community somewhat over-saturated in the charitable request category (e.g. ? donations), the Tiffin Board of Education voted to implement a pay-to-participate system for sports.
A survey by the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) indicates 30 percent of public schools in the state instituted a pay-to-participate system in 2004-'05. While "Pay to Play" is nothing new in Ohio (tax credit, anyone?), it often creates an accounting nightmare and fosters a sense of entitlement for parents who expect their child to have guaranteed minimal playing time. Welcome to the club sports system, Tiffin! Get ready for some awkward conversations around why Suzie isn't suiting up to play.
The OHSAA advocates that while it is not the most desirable alternative, a pay for participation system is viable as the last-ditch option to avoid eliminating programs. Undoubtedly, no one can envy board members who must decide how deep the program will extend through "extra-curricular" activities and whether it will trickle down to elementary programs. Will members of a quiz bowl team, chess club, dance team, or fifth grade basketball program need to pony up to participate?
What about families tight on funds? A 1984 Supreme Court decision ruled, "Educational opportunities must be provided for all students without regard to their families' ability or willingness to pay fees." Still, there is a concern and proof from many other schools that mandating a pay for participatation system will have a negative impact on overall participation numbers. The good news is that research shows the impact of overall decreased participation is normally minimal and the trend is for participation to rebound within several years. Let's hope Tiffin public schools fall into the "normal" range.
Sports and death
From Bubba Smith to Joe Frazier to Al Davis to Jack LeLanne, the memories of celebrity sportsmen who died last year will endure for as long as ESPN or Nick-at-Nite replay classic clips from old "Police Academy" movies, the Ali vs. Frazier "Fight of the Century", NFL History documentaries, and info-commercials featuring the "Jack LeLanne Power Juicer."
Bubba only was 66 when he died. Davis and Frazier were in their 80s and LeLanne, the former 98-pound-weakling turned fitness guru, was the ripe age of 96. Dwayne Taylor, a Tiffin University MBA Sport Management student, was fortunate enough to intern with the Director of Player Personnel for the Oakland Raiders this season. The aspiring sport business professional spoke of the improbable circumstances that allowed him be part of the franchise the year legendary owner Davis passed. Taylor participated in emotional memorials highlighting Davis' impact for the Raiders and the NFL. Too bad the Raiders didn't make the playoffs this year the season of "Tebow-mania" and "Drew-fantastic."
Other notable 2011 deaths were John Mackey, Lorenzo Charles, Randy "Macho Man" Savage and Dan Wheldon, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner who succumbed at age 33 in a crash while racing in Vegas. Wonder who will buy the productions rights to sensationalize the Wheldon story or the insurmountable sad saga of the 40-plus Russian hockey players and coaches who died in an airline catastrophe that was reminiscent of the "We are Marshall" tragedy? Look for another emotion-packed sport-themed movie at your local theaters soon.
On a lighter note in sports
Forget the hockey fan who finally was fined $200 for throwing a banana on the ice during an exhibition game. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Dennis Rodmen is recruiting exotic dancers [5-10 and taller] to audition for a topless charity basketball game sponsored by one of his favorite gentlemens' clubs. Seems the original NBA bad-boy didn't want to be out-shined by Spud Webb's raunchy lingerie basketball league. Tickets, anyone? No thank you.
Then there is Charles Barkley, who rarely fails to deliver. Consider last week's Saturday Night Live skits with a "Shaquille O'Neal" impersonation and a segment titled "White People Problems." Hilarious! Perhaps a bit funnier was a crack about his "lose like a man" Weight Watchers campaign during an NBA pregame show. Seems the outspoken Barkley was clueless that his TNT microphone still activated when he was overheard saying that easy money for being a Weight Watchers spokesman is a bigger scam than getting paid to talk basketball on TV!" Again ? Hilarious!
More of the same -
NCAA and Money
Based on financial-disclosure forms from NCAA D-I schools reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, LSU and Alabama also rank No. 1 and No. 2 in the nation in the percentage of football earnings (or is that order reversed now?). The top legislative focus of the annual NCAA convention this month is again about money. Actually, it is about awarding Division I student-athletes on a full ride in certain sports an additional $2,000 to cover miscellaneous expenses beyond tuition, room, board, and books.
Dozens of D-I prospects who signed their letters of intent last November most likely will get the extra bonus without losing amateur status; however, that may not be the case for anyone who signed after the NCAA pulled the plug on the program around Christmas time. Seems the hot convention issue is whether the new money rule will be enforced or overturned. Let's hope for the latter ? there are just too many factors related to equitability and furthering the gap between the haves and the have-nots.
Urban Meyer will stand proud with a $4 million base salary for coaching the Ohio State Buckeyes next season and NBC will broadcast the Olympic Games in 3-D. Yes, 2012 looks to be a bigger, better, bolder sports year than ever before, even if our Tiffin Public School system has to put a little extra squeeze in parent's checkbooks to make the annual budget. Seems the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Stay tuned in February for more sport stories and commentary from our small community in northwest Ohio to around the globe.
Bonnie Tiell is the dean of graduate studies at Tiffin University.