On Tuesday, the BOE tabled Alumni Football USA’s request for an Aug. 17 game at Volunteer’s stadium.
The request will be placed on the agenda for the June 27 meeting to give County Attorney Jim Phillips and board members time to review the Alumni Football USA’s contract.
Last year’s game between the Volunteer and Cherokee high school alumni football players received glowing reviews from both players and spectators. The Cherokee alumni emerged victorious in overtime in a game played before an estimated 2,000 spectators at the Lynn View stadium in Kingsport.
The location of the game caused a bit of a controversy, however, because players and members of the community felt it should have been played in Hawkins County.
Last year, players paid Alumni Football USA $100 each to cover their insurance and equipment rental.
The venue gets a portion of the $10-per-ticket admission receipts, and all of the concessions.
Last year’s event reportedly raised $2,000, which benefited Lynn View pee wee football instead of Hawkins County programs.
On Tuesday, Alumni Football USA National Director Jarrod Hargrave asked the BOE for permission to hold this year’s Hawkins County alumni football game at Volunteer on Aug. 17.
Following Hargrave’s presentation, however, BOE Chairman Randy Collier took Hargrave to task for the blame that was assessed to the school system over the 2012 game’s location.
“Last year, this board got a bad taste in its mouth,” Collier told Hargrave. “We got slammed by the general public because, supposedly, we didn’t allow you all to have this game in Hawkins County. This board was not aware at any time that any request had been made.”
Collier added, “You misled the players, or someone from your organization misled your players last year to say that this board would not allow your players to play on our field.”
Director of Schools Charlotte Britton echoed Collier’s sentiment that the BOE and school system were falsely vilified over last year’s game.
“I had asked for a contract last year, but that document was never made available to the Hawkins County Board of Education,” Britton told Hargrave. “That was a concern for me with going ahead with the game last year.”
Britton noted that Hawkins County Schools has a policy prohibiting the use of school names for events and promotions that aren’t sanctioned by the BOE.
“Last year your organization actually came in and organized a game having (school names) on your website with dates,” Britton added. “As I told the organization last year, I am not personally against having an alumni football game. There is criteria that the Board of Education needs to have prior approval of such an important event for our county. We would like to see a game played for Volunteer and Cherokee, but again, I need to stress the necessity of your organization make sure that a contract is to us in a timely fashion.”