10/19/04 — Loss of gate from game will hurt GHS

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Loss of gate from game will hurt GHS

By David Williams
Published in Sports on October 19, 2004 1:57 PM

The immediate effect of postponing Goldsboro High School's homecoming football game with Eastern Wayne last week was obvious -- the game was moved to Saturday afternoon in the wake of threats of violence that were to take place at the game.

The players played in front of nearly empty stands, occupied only by the players' parents.

But other repercussions of the postponed game -- financial ones -- could be felt by the school's struggling athletic program for months to come.

Postponing the game was a double whammy for the Cougars from the standpoint of gate receipts. The school lost what was expected to be the best turnout of the season, with alumni coming back to the school and meeting a playoff-hungry Warrior team that would surely have brought a great crowd to the game.

While donations and pledges to the school have helped ease the sting, the loss of revenue is a major blow to a school that has little money to begin with.

"It affects our sports programs tremendously," said Goldsboro High principal Pat Burden. "We play home-and-home events with most of the schools we play, so every other year your home games make for a smaller allocation of money in gate receipts."

Goldsboro High has 17 sports teams, and Wayne County Public Schools doles out athletic funds to all its schools. Goldsboro gets $1500 from the county for officials, security, emergency medical services at home games, as well as equipment, uniforms and other needed items. The schools get another amount for athletics based on the number of athletes the school has. Goldsboro High athletics director Randy Jordan said the school usually gets about $5000 from that fund -- lower than the other 3-A schools in the county because of a smaller number of athletes.

Football is one of the two major revenue sources for Goldsboro High. The other is boys basketball, which makes more money because the basketball Cougars play 12 home games compared to five for football.

Goldsboro is unique in that the only revenue the athletics fund receives from games is the gate receipts. Concessions are given to the band and the cheerleaders -- Goldsboro furnishes the uniforms for its cheerleaders, where other schools require the students to pay for uniforms themselves.

In the other county schools, athletics funds are supplemented by booster clubs that augment revenues and use special projects to fund big-ticket items. Booster clubs in Wayne County have contributed everything from equipment and supplies to facilities and weight rooms to its schools.

Goldsboro High has a smaller and less economically-enhanced parent base, and their booster club has struggled. Burden said the Cougar Club is being rebuilt.

"The people involved are good people working hard for our kids," she said. "We need more of them to be involved with their kids and with the school."

In short, where other school can count on help for its athletic needs, Goldsboro has to rely on itself

In addition to the regular costs of operating an athletics program, Goldsboro also funds its annual athletic banquet. It is a catered dinner held at the H.V. Brown Center, and the students treat it as a formal affair. The school pays for the meal of the student and one parent. The school receives help to fund the banquet, with the aid of its Community Partners.

"They get all dressed up and make a big thing of it," said Jordan. "It's a very special night for them. We'll do it this year, but we'll have to see what we will need to do."

Goldsboro is in need of new baseball uniforms -- the current set is eight years old.

Burden said the postponement should not have an effect on Goldsboro's final home game -- on Friday against Kinston. She said she intended to call Kinston Principal Craig Hill and iron out any potential problems with the game. The Kinston Free Press has already published in an editorial that the game should be moved to Kinston.

"I see no reason we can't play the game here," Burden said.

Burden said the school's location in the middle of town creates an atmosphere that allows groups to come on campus and cause trouble at sporting events. Security has been addressed, and Burden is checking with the Goldsboro Police Department to see what more can be done.

Burden said she had increased game security two years ago, when a shooting took place at a Goldsboro-Kinston football game. No one involved in that incident was a student of either school.

"In that incident, we had police officers that had just patrolled that area and had just left the area when the incident occurred," she said. "This kind of thing can happen anywhere. And people believe this all happens because of feelings over a rivalry. That's not true."

Burden said the incidents continue to give credence to misguided perceptions of past years, when Goldsboro was painted as a violent and difficult school.

"Community concerns are filtering into the school system, and becoming our concern," she said. "People should have respect for school property and school events.

"Young lives are at stake."