There are not many fan bases that compare to the Huntingdon Mustang football fan base. This is not only because they love their Mustangs, but because they love high school football altogether. I have a belief that the TSSAA, which is the governing body of high school athletics in the state of Tennessee, realizes what they are doing to poor and average folks like myself. The TSSAA is supposed to be a non-profit organization, but come playoff time, it’s hard to believe they are non-profit.
Proof of how Mustang fans are could be seen during the semi-final game down in Trenton as the Golden Tide took on Waverly. It was one of the few games I had to pay to get into. Don’t judge, there are perks with this job. Several years ago, the money was split by thirds between the schools and the TSSAA, meaning each school got 33% of the gate along with the TSSAA. It cost me eight dollars to get in for that game and two of those dollars went to Trenton and two went to Waverly. The TSSAA got four dollars of that money. Also, just to support my comment about Mustang fans, there were several of us standing in the rain to watch that game because of our addictions.
First of all, if you’re lucky enough to support a school that makes a long run in the playoffs, then it’s going to cost you eight dollars every game until you reach the state championship game. Four games are 32 dollars, and if you take your wife and kids, then it’s a lot of money every Friday. Out of that 32 dollars, the TSSAA gets 16 dollars. Non-profit organizations have salaries to pay, so I’m complaining as I grit my teeth as I write that. School are not getting rewarded for long playoff runs.
With the schedules as they are now and the travel that is involved, it takes a lot of money to get a bus or lease a greyhound to carry your kids to games. The schools are also having to do it on two dollars instead of the 33% they used to get. The TSSAA officials in charge are not having to lease buses and pay for referees and lights for the field. Somebody is raking in some money.
When it comes to rabid football fans, Huntingdon is not the only fan base that cares about high school football. The TSSAA state championship games began Thursday, and how many of those games do you think I watched on TV? The answer would be zero because of a couple of different reasons. One is I have my basketball duties, but there were some times during the day that I could have watched the games if I had been close to a TV. When I was home I looked at a few different places, and there were no games to be watched.
I realize there were some cable stations covering the games if you had certain providers, but the one I had was not offering the games. I could have gone to the TSSAA-controlled NFHS website and watched the games for ten bucks a game. It’s high school football for crying out loud not Ali and Frazier in Manilla. As a fan why can’t I enjoy an evening of watching football and see how the teams in our area do at state. I can watch the SEC championship game for free on cable, so why can’t I watch Cornersville and Whitwell for free instead of paying ten dollars.
Non-profit my foot! I haven’t profited from this football season for a lot of different reasons, and I wonder why the TSSAA can’t just make sure all of us fans that can’t make a three-hour trip to Cookeville the opportunity to watch all the games without paying ten dollars or having to search high and low to find the games somewhere. It’s not a lot to ask for my two dollars.