View Full Version : HS athletic director taking over our invitational :(

December 12th, 2017, 04:03 PM
Is this something he can just do?

Over the years, the boosters have developed an invitational meet for the high school teams (girls and boys) that is a pre-Districts event. For many of the JV kids, this is their big finale for the season that they otherwise wouldn't have had, or their last chance at qualifying for a spot at Districts.

We run the whole thing. We rent the pool, we invoice the schools attending (basically covers the cost of the pool rental), we apply for parking permits with the city, we get the meet officials organized, we offer hospitality to our meet officials and all the coaches (about 50-60 people), etc.

Now we have a new athletic director. He has decided that he wants all of the admissions that we charge and the cut that we get from the apparel vendor. It is my understanding that this will go into the **general** ASB funds at the school, along with admissions prices from all the school team events. It doesn't look like he's giving us a say in the matter. He will let us run the concessions, and print our own heat-sheets to sell so that we can earn the money to pay for the hospitality for the meet officials that we also will still provide. Basically, it looks like he wants to cherry-pick and take our easier source of funds that we use for team purposes, and leave us with the labor.

The money we earn from the invitational helps to buy team shirts for the boys. The team shirts are some of their favorite clothing for the boys in particular - and we've turned it into a team building event with special names chosen by team captains printed on each shirt and revealed at a team dinner before the event. We also need to take care of our meet officials. The only meet for the whole season that they are paid for is Districts. The rest is volunteer work on their part, so we treat them well with food and team apparel. We also have to get volunteers to cover all of the timer positions and most of the meet set-up during the entire season, as well as Districts. The school does not provide for that. We also buy equipment needed by the coaches as they don't have to submit through the school - which requires planning ahead a season or two and not asking too much, lest it get turned down (it's all-or-nothing with the school's system). We bought the giant scoreboard and the record boards that hang at the pool. The scoreboard is used by many other groups.

Does anyone have any advice on this situation? Is there anything that we can do? Is this something that the school can just decide is "theirs"? I honestly don't know how this type of thing works.

December 12th, 2017, 04:24 PM
I realize this isn't about Masters swimming. But I am a Masters swimmer, and I thought maybe other Masters swimmers have also been involved with high school swimming programs.

December 12th, 2017, 04:58 PM
If he is charge of the pool facility you may be out of luck. However I was wondering if you can move it to another pool facility? (Somewhere that he has no say over.)

December 13th, 2017, 09:14 AM
I would ask to have a meeting with the new AD and explain the above. If that doesn't work, then I'd go directly to the school board. If THAT doesn't work, then I'd suggest the boosters bow out of the entire event, let the AD run and organize the whole thing, and when it is less successful, or he starts to struggle, "offer" to take the burden off his hands and put things back to normal. I realize the last might be spiting your kids, but it sounds like they're getting shafted regardless.

December 13th, 2017, 09:39 AM
Agreed with all of the above...

Since the school board presumably interviewed and hired the new AD, there is absolutely no reason why your concerns can't be politely directed to this group via email. Higher ranking members of the swim team and coach can be included on the message as well, so that it doesn't appear as if this is coming from one individual. It sounds as if the pool is not a part of the high school since you "rent" it, therefore it makes no practical sense why the AD should be involved in racketeering over your well earned funds.

The outline in the last paragraph clearly explains why the admissions etc. are an integral part of making this a rewarding event for the team. It certainly won't be found offensive, and if the AD raises a fuss, maybe he's not exactly the right candidate for the position. Fiscal responsibilities and concerns over revenues are inherently the responsibility of the board, and administrators. If the school needs more money for programs, they simply requisition for these things at public hearings where the community can eventually weigh in and vote on the proposal. ...good luck.

Mark Usher
December 13th, 2017, 03:23 PM
The first thing I would suggest is to sit down with the athletic director and discuss your concerns. Some states have very specific rules defining the roles of high school booster groups, in particular how revenues are handled, for accounting and transparency purposes. It may be that he is just following the state guidelines, but he should be able to explain it to you if that is the issue.

I know of at least one AD who was fired for stuff the boosters were doing without their knowledge.

That being said, running a meet is a huge effort and he needs your support. He's just making a money grab and expecting for you to still do all the work, I'd tell him good luck, head for the door and contact the school board.

December 13th, 2017, 05:39 PM
If you don't get satisfaction from the AD, you can kick the decision up one level and contact the school superintendent or HS principal (whoever the AD reports too). The AD may not be happy with this appeal, so try to reason with them first. If the Superintendent and AD are in lock-step, then the School Board of Education (BOE) is your next level of appeal.

The BOE is made up of members of the community and you can and should consider contacting individual members, especially if there is someone in your group who knows one or more and can find a sympathetic ear. The BOE President with the Superintendent generally control the BOE meeting agenda, and you can request a spot on their meeting agenda. If they aren't willing to provide an agenda spot, simply show up at a meeting and speak during the open session. A lot depends on the attitude of the Superintendent and BOE President. Remember you catch more with honey than vinegar, and its not a good idea to become belligerent, hurl accusations at the AD or Superintendent, and become overly aggressive at an open public meeting. Get other supporters to come with you to the meeting, be ready to cooperate and compromise, and hopefully the BOE and Superintendent will be able to work out something that satisfies the AD and your interests.

The AD may be concerned about the responsibility to account for funds raised and how they are spent. School boosters can be a bit tricky and the district runs the risk of being blamed for problems - real or perceived. And schools are finding it hard in our state to find funds to support sports. Some have resorted to charging kids to play them. It would be good to find out if budget and the potential loss of the entire swimming program are what's driving the AD's change.

I recently attended my HS 50th reunion and unfortunately none of the other "core" swimmers from our team were able to make it, but a number of the others were there. These guys all contributed to our success, made practices, scored points, and cheered us on when they weren't in the water at meets. One of the swimmers that did attend indicated he is still swimming laps. So I believe we created at least one life time swimming success story. I wish we'd had a booster group like yours that set up a meet for these other guys.

Good luck, sounds like a great cause, and hope you find a way to continue.

December 13th, 2017, 07:52 PM
Thank you. This is all helpful. We will likely be headed to a meeting with the ADs. I hope not the school board, but we will have to see.

I am the booster president for the boys for one school. We are four teams (two high schools involved, boys and girls team for each). Our pool is owned by the school district. It's one of the best in the state, so we couldn't succeed at a different pool. The boosters have been purchasing some of the stuff that makes the pool look like a legitimate competition pool. (And our Masters team is growing, too.)

We got the final word today that both school ADs are together on this (our schools and boards actually work together as one team each for the swim and dive program, although technically we are two.) The AD from my school is the one who initiated this. All of the things the boosters have been covering for the teams (like tshirts, senior grad gifts, etc) will not be covered by ASB funds that the money will now be put into.

The general feeling on the new AD (he is not new to our area, so is known to people) is that he's a good guy. So I would lean towards him trying to be responsible to tax payers. Yet this still seems like a money grab and taking advantage of parents who donate time (most of us also have jobs we have to reschedule). The coach is stuck in the middle and can't say anything different. I HOPE he keeps his personal feelings out of it, because he can't win either way. He's a good guy, too. But I'm sure he's aware that he's going to have to go through red-tape to get supplies now. Although...I'm honestly not sure what supplies the school HAS provided. (Yes, pool and coaches, although we were paying the dive coach's salary until last year.)

The old distinction was if athletes were REQUIRED to help fundraise, then we had to turn the money over to ASB. But as of today, we are told if the majority of work is done by the athletes, then the money has to go to ASB. This includes the car wash the students do - which we were told today they are also now going to take.

I appreciate the reunion story. That's absolutely why I give my time - it's for every single one of these kids. Some will become Masters swimmers - and it could be any one of them. But others will get through the season and have proved to themselves what they were capable of. It's not about swimming...but it is.

The stress on my body from this position is huge. That's how stress works it's way out in my life - overuse injuries. I can't swim with my own Masters group now because I've got bursitis in both my shoulders and knees. (I did check out suggestions for fin workouts here on other threads, which have been helpful and encouraging).

Anyway, thanks for sharing and your advise. As you can maybe tell, I'm stressed with all this. For a volunteer position.