On the Mark
By D. Mark Mitchell
Opelika High School athletics rely on businesses, families and individuals to help offset cost by donating to the All-Sports Booster Club. The ASBC formed in the early ’90s during coach Doug Barfield’s tenure as head football coach and athletic director at OHS. Prior to forming the All-Sports Booster Club, the “Quarterback Club” was the only club raising money in the athletic department.
The idea to start the All-Sports Booster Club was Barfield’s, as he wanted to have one booster club to raise money for every sport, not just football. The board members of the quarterback club were Margarette Askew, Rusty Melnick, Armond Crowder, Stanley Campbell, Tim Gore and myself (D.Mark Mitchell).
Barfield asked us to come up with three to four packages ranging from $250.00 to $1500.00, that contained tickets, program advertising, parking passes and other items that benefited the sponsor. The larger the donation, the more benefits the sponsor received. The change to one booster club for all sports meant that businesses could make one donation during the school year to help all sports. I asked Superintendent Phil Raley if the money raised could be kept in a separate account at OHS instead of a private account set up for the Quarterback Club. Raley approved the request and allowed the OHS bookkeeper to oversee the account.
We had incredible success the first year of the ASBC, surpassing the goal of raising $10,000. A percentage of the money raised was divided among all sports. The remaining funds were available but coaches sent a request to the board for approval.
As time went by, the All-Sports Booster Club Corporate Sponsor plan generated over $100,000 dollars annually for the athletics.
OHS Principal, Dr. Farrell Seymore, sent me the ASBC financial report for the 2020-21 school year. The ASBC began the school year with $41,610.26 and raised $62,526.24, from program ads and corporate sponsors this past school year. The ASBC gave OMS athletics $6,000, and divided $30,375 among all sports. (The amount each sport received was not made available.) The ASBC spent $23,974.84 on miscellaneous expenses: press box supplies, Lords Security (football games), team travel for regional and state events, boys/girls basketball security and Weldon, Williams and Lick (printing of football tickets). This left a remaining balance of $40,694 as of May 26.
Seymore then explained a change in the way money is spent and who approves the expenditures. The ASBC has no board members. However Adrian Yountz and Marcus Ware serve in an “advisory capacity so we can have some community input regarding perspective on spending,” wrote Seymore. Athletic Director, Mike Pugh, recommends how the money is spent but Seymore has the final word.
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
It is only June but high school football is a couple months away. It all starts with “High School Media Days presented by the Orthopedic Clinic,” July 27 and 28 at the Event Center Bottling Plant in Opelika. The annual event is hosted by iHeartRadio and airs LIVE on FOX Sports the Game 910-1310 and WOTM TV. The two-day event covers 19 high school football teams in and around East Alabama.
You will hear each head football coach and a few players as we look forward to the 2021 season. We will cover teams from both associations, the AHSAA and AISA.
Special thanks to the Orthopedic Clinic for being the title sponsor, the Bottling Plant Event Center and our friends in the media.
D. Mark Mitchell is the sports director of iHeartMedia, the host “On the Mark” Fox Sports the Game 910-1310, co-chair of the Auburn -Opelika Sports Council, chairman of Super 7 and the Dixie Boys Baseball state director.