State Imposes Fees on High Schools for Each Sport

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The state’s high schools will have to start paying a $50 fee for each sport they sponsor to the Ohio High School Athletic Association beginning with the 2021-22 academic year.

The OHSSA board unanimously approved the measure, which applies only to high schools, on Monday. Doug Ute, executive director of the sanctioning body, proposed the fee to the board of directors at their February and April meetings.

In a press release, Ute sited decreased attendance by fans at sporting events as the reason for the charge.

“I have received favorable feedback from the majority of the administrators with whom I have conversed at our member schools,” Ute said. “Levying membership dues does not change our mission, which is to serve our member schools and enrich interscholastic opportunities for students.”

Under the new fee structure, schools could pay anywhere between $300-$1,300 per year, depending on its number of sanctioned sports. The dues will be reviewed annually, and the executive director has the power to recommend modifications.

The press release said the dues will not exceed $100 per sport if future modifications are needed.

“We traditionally have relied on tournament ticket sales for about 80 percent of our revenue,” Ute said. “That financial model has not been sustainable, and the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly not helped. 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.”

Under the changes approved Monday, schools will no longer have to pay fees for tournament entry, bowling lineage, golf greens or wrestling weight management. Student scholarships will be reinstated for the upcoming school year and student catastrophic insurance will continue to be provided by the OHSAA.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.