Approval of 2008-09 CIF budget includes playoff share cuts, entry fees for schools


Last updated 6/19/2008 at Noon

Although the dues paid by high schools which are members of the California Interscholastic Federation’s San Diego Section will not increase for 2008-09, the budget approved June 3 by the CIF Board of Managers increases the CIF’s share of playoff revenue at the expense of the participating schools and adds entry fees for athletes competing in individual events at CIF competitions.

The 2008-09 budget includes revenues of $1,468,850, which is up from the $1,404,700 amount of the 2007-08 budget, and expenditures of $1,359,612, which is an increase from the 2007-08 budget total of $1,259,175. The revenues reflect the CIF’s increased share of playoff revenue and the new entry fees.

“I think there are some people who are going to lose a lot of money,” said Mike Stephenson of St. Augustine High School, who represents Catholic schools not affiliated with the Diocese on the CIF Board of Managers.

The current split for CIF playoff matches hosted by a school distributes 50 percent of ticket revenues to the CIF, 25 percent to the home school, and 25 percent to the visiting school. The new formula will give 70 percent of revenues to the CIF, 20 percent to the home school, and 10 percent to the visiting school. The shift is expected to increase the CIF’s revenues by $68,400.

The CIF will retain all revenues for playoff matches played at a neutral site. “Teams that are involved in there are giving up a lot more money,” Stephenson said. “It’s not just a 70-20-10 split. It’s much more than that.”

Ending the equal distribution between the home and visiting schools could also have an adverse effect on a school which has a higher playoff seeding than its first-round opponent but is pitted against a league champion. League champions are guaranteed at least one home playoff game or match, so a higher-seeded school facing a league champion in the first round plays on the road. The change in revenue distribution creates a financial impact as well as travel and the loss of home-field advantage.

CIF commissioner Dennis Ackerman believes that the costs of a home game or match merit the additional revenue to the host school. “The home site incurs more costs, does more work,” Ackerman said. “They’re setting up the facilities, they’re getting the security.”

The CIF cross-country meet already charges entry fees of $10 per athlete with a maximum $50 per team. That same entry fee and team maximum will be added for other individual sports. The girls and boys tennis team playoffs will not be subject to that fee, although the individual singles and doubles CIF tennis championships will have the entry fee for the 2008 girls season and the 2009 boys season. Girls and boys golf, wrestling, boys and girls swimming and diving, boys and girls track and field, and gymnastics will also be subject to the new entry fees.

The new entry fees are expected to increase CIF revenues by $18,000 to $20,000 while costing schools no more than $500 per year. “A small fee is nominal,” Ackerman said.

The CIF revenues have three sources: playoff tickets, school member dues, and sponsorships. Expenses include playoff contests, special events, participation patches and awards, travel, and personnel and office expenses. Playoff revenue depends on the support of the participating schools as well as on weather. “Football this year, we had a very wet semifinals and finals,” Ackerman said. “We probably took a $100,000 hit this year.”

The rentals and security costs of using Qualcomm Stadium for the football finals and Cox Arena for the basketball finals have also become increasingly expensive.

Ackerman said that while facility rental contracts might call for outside security, the CIF would explore using school site personnel rather than outside security for ticket admissions and field access at school sites. The security cost for Qualcomm Stadium was approximately $30,000.

“We have to look at cutting costs,” Ackerman said. “Maybe we can’t go to these nice venues.”

Rain rather than cost savings forced the 1997 CIF football finals to be moved to Southwestern College, and while revenues were down at the Chula Vista venue the CIF profit actually increased. “If we went to a USD or a Southwestern College our expenses would be a lot less,” Ackerman said. “We’re going to have to look at different venues, different places.”

The CIF’s additional expenses also include fulfilling a requirement to build up a dedicated retirement fund. The budget initially proposed at the CIF Board of Managers meeting included a 3 percent cost of living increase for the CIF staff, although that was deleted while allowing for the option to revisit the pay increase at a future meeting.

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