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Published: Friday, 12/24/2010

Scott boosters want Libbey fieldhouse for boys' team

Without a fieldhouse of its own, Scott High's boys basketball team is always playing away at other schools.

And the school's athletics booster club is suffering financially because of it.

Scott High is being rebuilt, and to make up for its lack of a fieldhouse, the teams rotate "home" games at other high schools. But the booster club has been boxed out of concession stand profits, a traditional source of revenue for the clubs at home games.

Other schools' booster clubs, in essence, have been double-dipping because of Scott's situation, said A.C. Mack, a member of the Scott booster club from the class of 1994.

Mr. Mack asked the Toledo Board of Education last week to use the Libbey High School field house for Scott home basketball games.

It was the second time this month a group has inquired about using the field house, even though Libbey was shut down this year.

The field house, which seats more than 2,000, is a newer, stand-alone structure on the 44-acre Western Avenue campus. It's slated to be demolished, along with the main high school, some time in the next 12 months.

Scott students are temporarily housed at the old DeVilbiss High School until their new state-of-the-art building is completed next year.

After listening to Mr. Mack, the school board asked Toledo Public Schools Superintendent Jerome Pecko to look into the situation.

"That bugged me, and I think it bugged everyone else," said school board member Larry Sykes. "Here these individuals are already suffering because they don't have a high school; we need to do a better job of taking care of these situations."

The issue wasn't raised earlier, Mr. Mack said, because the booster club was reconstituted only two months ago.

The former booster club was disbanded last year, and Scott High didn't have an operating organization over last football season, he said.

Booster clubs, in general, use concession stand profits from selling soft drinks, candy, hot dogs, and other food to sponsors trips, buy uniforms, and do other nice things for student athletes in need.

"Let's say one of our athletes happens to make it to a state tournament, we could help pay for it," Mr. Mack said.

The concession stand take at a basketball game might run $900.

Mr. Mack estimates the club has lost about $3,000 in concession revenues so far this basketball season because it doesn't have a true home field advantage.

Ed Scrutchins, TPS athletics director and commissioner of the City League, said he would try to solve the situation if asked by the superintendent.

He said Woodward High's booster club was without a football field and concessions revenue while the high school was recently rebuilt. He said the problem can be complicated because booster clubs at each home building own their own equipment, including popcorn makers and coffee machines.

"This is not the first time this has happened. This is something that would probably have to be worked out among the clubs," Mr. Scrutchins said.

He said opening the Libbey field house would be "a board decision as it relates to paying to heat it. It might be cheaper to go the other route [and share concessions]," he said.

Mr. Scrutchins said booster clubs are "extremely important because a lot of the time, the district doesn't supplement athletics, and the schools depend on the clubs to get them over the top."

Contact Christopher D. Kirkpatrick at: ckirkpatrick@theblade.com or 419-724-6134.



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