By D. Mark Mitchell
The second annual “iHeartRadio High School Media Days presented by the Orthopaedic Clinic” was held last week in the Southern Room on Southern Union State Community College’s Opelika campus. Eighteen high school football teams were represented during the two-day media blitz.
The event was covered by members of print-audio-visual media, including the AHSAA Radio Network, Alabama Radio Network, Auburn Villager, Gator Media, Opelika-Auburn News, Opelika Observer, WRBL, WSFA, WTVM and WXTX, among others.
Opelika’s Erik Speakman brought seniors Marshall Meyers, Brody Davis, Jalen Stinson and Marcus Tyson.
The Bulldogs have six of nine games at home including Callaway-Georgia (Aug. 23), Auburn (Aug. 30), Wetumpka (Sept. 13), Benjamin Russell (Oct. 4), Calera (Oct. 11) and Vigor (Oct. 25.) The three road games include Selma (Sept 6), Central (Sept. 20) and Stanhope Elmore (Oct 18). Opelika has two open weeks, Sept. 27 and the last week of the regular season, Nov. 1.
Read more about Media Days on B5.
OPELIKA SPORTSPLEX NEWS
The Opelika Parks and Recreation staff hosted the ARPA State Swim Meet in the Aquatics Center inside the Sportsplex. Opelika placed 9th overall in the large team division which is for teams larger then 40 kids. Opelika had 43 swimmers compete this weekend. Opelika swimmers came home with a total of 39 medals four golds, eight silver and six bronze.
Congratulations to the city of Opelika for hosting this meet, bringing more than 1,200 swimmers to town. This is the second time in three years the ARPA swim meet chose to hold their event in Opelika. According to the Auburn-Opelika Tourism Bureau, the three-day meet means a two-million dollar economic impact for our city and county.
Most hotels/motels in Opelika were full during the meet and our local restaurants and stores should have felt the increase in spending. (I will have results in next week’s column.)
The Opelika Parks and Recreation Department has scheduled a ribbon cutting for the new pickleball complex Aug. 10 at 10 a.m. Although the 12-court pickleball complex opened July 12 this will be the official opening. The new covered facility, located behind the Sportsplex, is one of the premier pickleball facilities in the nation, offering individually fenced court under the shade of the large cover, costing $556,000 to build. Players will have access to the restrooms, parking, lockers, showers and concessions. Players do not have to be a member of the Sportsplex to play on the courts.
Members of the department hope to host three to four tournaments a year, bringing approximately 150 to 200 people each tournament. According to Anthony Terling from the A-O Tourism Bureau, it is estimated that each person will spend $139 per day during a tournament.
Recreation Director Sam Bailey, an avid player, is proud to have the complex in his “backyard.”
“Opelika certainly has a pickleball facility to be proud of and we hope to show it off in future tournaments and events,” Bailey said. The cost of the complex exceeded several hundred thousand dollars.
AUG. 31 10TH
ANNIVERSARY FOR SPORTSPLEX
Opelika’s Parks and Recreation Department will celebrate 10 years of operating the Sportsplex and Aquatic Center Aug. 31. The celebration will include free food, a fitness competition, group fitness blast classes, inflatables, a scavenger hunt and much more. The event will be from 9 a.m. to noon. Members and guest will have a chance to win prizes. For details about joining the Opelika Sportsplex, call 334-705-5150.
The Alabama High School Athletic Association held its quarterly central board meeting last week at the AHSAA headquarters in Montgomery. The board approved returning $2 million dollars to its member schools under the revenue sharing plan, which was adopted in 2009. The board waived the membership dues for the member schools once again, resulting in an immediate savings of $84,000 overall. The total amount saved since membership dues have been waived in 1991-92 is more than $2.2 million dollars. That is money saved by schools that offer athletics. Two new board member took office and were sworn in by AHSAA Assistant Director Alvin Briggs, Kim Kiel (Pelham High School athletic director) and Jamie Chapman (Pickens County school superintendent.)
Opelika High School Principal Dr. Farrell Seymore was in attendance and will replace board member Richard “Dickie” Brown on Aug. 1. Seymore will be sworn in at the October central board meeting.
The board voted to return $1 per paid ticket from each playoff ticket through the revenue sharing to its member schools to offset game expenses. The total amount returned was $341,000.
In other business, the board:
• approved 50% rule violation to restitution and fine on first offense and suspension from the season on the second offense.
• approved a modification to the reclassification competitive balance formula. The data will be used every two years instead of three years. This will fall in line with reclassification, which happens every two years.
• approved the fee for video broadcasting a playoff game to $500, up from $400.
• approved the formation of a committee to look at the “Transfer Rule.”
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.