By D Mark Mitchell
Sports Editor

Opelika students continue to be out of school on Christmas break. School will start back on Jan. 3. The boys and girls basketball teams are participating in tournaments, the girls in Montgomery and the boys in Lagrange. The wrestling team continues to practice for the season which will continue after the holidays.

Opelika All-Sports Booster Club

I want to inform our readers about the Opelika All-Sports Booster Club. This is the only booster club that raises money for the athletic programs at OHS. The club raises most of their money from the “Corporate Sponsor Program” which was started in 1993. The plan was initiated because we had every OHS sport going out trying to raise money from the same businesses over and over.

The corporate sponsor program allows local businesses to contribute to the Booster Club at one time each school year. The business or individual receives advertising, football tickets, passes to every OCS sporting event and other items that persuade them to support the program. The only other way the Booster Club raises money is selling advertisements for the official Football Program publication.

The money is kept in an account at OHS. When all the money has been received (so that the total funds available is known), the Booster Club Board of Directors transfers money to every sport including cheerleaders and OMS athletics.

A formula was designed by the school and the Booster board to help divide the money as equal as possible. For the 2012-2013 school year, the Opelika All-Sports Booster Club distributed the following amounts to the OHS/OMS athletic teams:

Cheerleaders: $2,000; Girls Basketball: $2,000; Boys Basketball: $2,000; Baseball:$2,000; Girls Golf: $1,250; Boys Golf: $1,250; Boys Soccer: $2,000; Girls Soccer:$1,000; Softball: $2,000; Boys Tennis: $1,000; Girls Tennis: $1,000; Boys and Girls Track: $3,000; Cross Country: $1,500; Volleyball: $1,500; Wrestling: $2,000; Opelika Middle School Athletics:$6,000.

That adds up to $31,500 that goes to the athletic programs at OHS and OMS.

You may have noticed OHS football was left out off the list. The reason football is not included is because that sport draws more people which generates more money than any other sport. In other words, football generally pays its own way.

The Booster Club will help the football team on relatively small things when Coach Blackmon submits a request. The request is normally something like post game sandwiches when the team is on the road or maybe something after practice during the hot months to help cool the team members down, such as watermelons or maybe ice cream.

There are some other things that the All-Sports Booster Club takes care of, such as putting the football program together and paying to print the program, paying for the food to feed the press during home football games, paying for security during basketball games and other things that come up during the school year.

Any remaining funds stay in the Booster Club account to be used when a sport has a special need. The head coaches can submit a written request to the Booster Club president to help pay for things that come up during the season or extra things that can help their sport. The request is brought up at a Booster Club Board meeting and discussed. To be granted the request must be formally introduced and seconded at the board meeting and then passed by a majority vote of the board.

A board member can also request funds for a sport activity without a request. This kind of request is handled the same way as a request from a coach.

I have been a part of the All-Sports Booster Club Board for several years. I cannot recall very many requests being voted down unless they were asking for something that clearly was not feasible.

To sum up, the All-Sports Booster Club helps the athletic department with the extra things needed to help our teams have the necessary tools to succeed.

I want to thank each corporate sponsor and each board member. They assure that OHS and OMS sports will always have what is needed to look like a first class program.

The money from the sponsors is entirely spent on the athletic programs at OHS and OMS. No board member receives a salary. The money can only be spent if the Booster Club board approves the spending and a purchase order has to be signed by the president of the All-Sports Booster Club.

The All-Sports Booster Club has contributed thousands of dollars to our sports programs. It is another activity that helps our school system be one of the best in the state of Alabama.

Purchase A Brick

The Opelika All-Sports Booster Program will be selling “Personalized Bricks.” These bricks will be located in a designated area outside of Bulldog Stadium after renovations are complete. You can buy and personalize the brick for $100. The bricks will be engraved.

This is a perfect way to show your support, celebrate the year you graduated, give a gift to someone who is a Bulldog Supporter, celebrate the year you played or buy one for a loved one.

Stay tuned for the official announcement which will come out in January.

Coach of the Year

And, finally, although we say it elsewhere, congratulations to Brian Blackmon, Alabama’s 2012 6A Coach of the Year!