ROGERSVILLE — Representatives for the annual Hawkins County alumni football game got the cold shoulder from school board members Tuesday night over funds that hadn't been paid to the Volunteer High School band from last year's game.
The BOE received a report Tuesday that as of VHS graduation two weekends ago, the band still hadn't received its share of proceeds from last year's game, totaling about $400.
The money was owed by Alumni Football USA, the company that rents equipment and organizes games for a share of ticket sales.
Upon learning of the shortfall, Sessions Judge J. Todd Ross, who plays for the Volunteer alumni team, paid the $400 to the band, and is reportedly still owed that money by Alumni Football USA.
Cherokee High School alumni player Ketron Bailey appeared before the BOE Tuesday asking for permission to play this year's third annual game on Saturday, Aug. 16, at Cherokee High School.
Last year's game played at Volunteer between former players from the Volunteer and Cherokee squads was a tremendous success, not only in attendance and player participation, but also in fundraising.
Bailey told the BOE Tuesday that VHS received a total of $3,945 as its share of ticket sales, which was distributed to various teams and student organizations.
Cherokee received only $815. Bailey noted that Cherokee got a late start selling tickets, which explained its lower total.
Bailey said he was hoping to get an early start on ticket sales this year so that they can surpass last year's fundraising earnings for the schools. The goal this year is to turn the event into a "jamboree" with high school and middle school players being recognized on the field prior to the game.
"The potential for money to be taken in here is substantial, with no cost to the county whatsoever except for the use of the field and the lights," Bailey told the board.
Bailey acknowledged that the VHS band shortfall was an unfortunate glitch in an otherwise successful event.
He said it is his and the other players' contention that the next game won't take place until everything is paid up to the schools by Alumni Football USA.
A representative from Alumni Football USA also attended Tuesday's meeting and attempted to address the board about this year's proposed game.
But he was cut off by board member Chris Christian, who made a motion for the group to address the BOE's Athletic Committee about the alumni football game at a meeting to be scheduled later. That motion was approved unanimously.
Christian said, "Before I can back another alumni football game — with the fiascoes that we've had last year — I cannot move forward until this board is satisfied, as well as the administration of this school system, and the coaches of these schools are assured of how the tickets are going to be sold and who gets what."
The first alumni game was played two years ago on the former Lynn View High School football field in Kingsport because Alumni Football USA failed to follow BOE guidelines in requesting the use of a Hawkins County Schools field.
There was much outcry about the lost revenue for the schools due to the game being played out-of-county, but last year's game was played before a standing room only crowd at Volunteer.
In the first two games, the Cherokee alums are 2-0.