Published 11:09 am Monday, March 24, 2003
Right, wrong decisions about team travel
At Monday's meeting of the Brewton City Board of Education, several parents expressed their anger to the board members. The Lady Tigers' basketball team had not been allowed to spend the night in Birmingham the night before their Final Four game earlier this month, and they wanted to kow why.
While there is likely more to the decision than came out at the public meeting, the result of the meeting was a positive solution. By establing a procedure for all teams to follow, the board helped establish some general guidelines and policies that can be used in the future.
The parents pointed out that the state athletic association pays for the rooms for the players, so there is no expense to the school system with an overnight stay. And while we certainly agree with the parents' statement that the all athletes should be treated equally, regardless of sex, the issue did raise a much larger question.
With our state facing the financial crisis it is, why are we paying for overnight hotels rooms for teams playing in an afternoon game where only three hours of travel are involved? With 48 teams involved in the Final Four tournament, a conservative estimate puts the price tag at roughly $17,000 for the first round's lodging for athletes along.
While we certainly want to reward our athletes, male and female, for success, the economic reality is that an overnight stay in this case was probably not necessary. The parents were right to question the local decision and bring the process to the public's attention.
In our view, the board made the right decision and we ask the leaders of the state organization to re-consider theirs.