Archive for Tuesday, October 23, 1990


October 23, 1990


You will not be attending the Dillons Class 6A state football championship next month.

Nor the K mart state volleyball tournament.

Nor the Packer Plastics state cross country meet.

The Kansas State High School Activities Assn. has not sought corporate sponsorships for its championship events.

"We've talked about it," said Kaye Pearce, a KSHSAA administrative assistant. "It was an item at our regional administrators meeting a couple of years ago. They said the way things are now, they didn't want us to consider them.

"They said no, unless we get into some kind of financial difficulty."

The KSHSAA is in no such straits. Administrators from around the state did give the Association permission to seek a sponsor to help underwrite the cost of its TARGET anti-drug abuse program, and a three-year deal was reached with the Wesley Foundation.

BUT TICKET prices will rise, Pearce said, before Dairy Queen is asked to, say, donate Dilley Bars to the state gymnastics meet.

"We're at a position where we can raise ticket prices and be OK," he said. "Three dollars to see a state championship event is a pretty good deal."

Wouldn't it be a better deal if the Activities Assn. could raise travel reimbursements to schools? To improve tournament and game sites?

To better afford to pay the bills?

No, the state's administrators told Pearce.

"I think they feel that with money comes some ownership," he said, "and I think our schools have too much pride to give up ownership of their events."

They don't have to, Ken Tilley, programs supervisor for Virginia High School League, told me.

"IT'S GREAT as long as it's kept in the right perspective," Tilley said. "Our approach was to not sacrifice the name of the event. They've always been the VHSL state championships, and we wanted to keep it that way."

I called Tilley because I read that Virginia had just signed Domino's Pizza to sponsor its state track meets.

As it turned out the report was wrong. Domino's helped underwrite last season's meets and said financial difficulties would prevent it from renewing the agreement.

But the VHSL has a couple other sponsors with whom, Tilley said, it leads highly symbiotic relationships.

"Our first sponsor is a bank that pays for the medals and trophies we award," he said. "On the back of the box that the medal comes in it says, `Courtesy of Central Fidelity.' It's a very subtle way to do it, and they're very happy. Their expectations are moderate."

As are the expectations of Gatorade, which agreed to supply its product for Virginia's state events.

THE DOMINO'S deal was more along the lines of a traditional sponsorship, which is to say Domino's forked over some money and received in exchange, advertisement in the meet program, banners and ticket takers dressed in Domino's caps.

"At one point they tried to get the Noid to come to the meet, but I don't think they pulled it off," Tilley said.

With the money, the VHSL helped defer the costs of its meets.

Tilley said he didn't know of any drawbacks.

"Perhaps if it did get out of perspective, if it were over-commercialized, it would be bad," he said. "Some people have the perception that you're selling out."

He had no such perception.

"Absolutely not," he said. "Our membership feels very comfortable."

If that's true, maybe the KSHSAA's membership ought to reconsider. At least it should ask itself the question, `Why not?'

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