Alumni game a novel idea

Published 5:44 pm Friday, December 11, 2009

Even with as much passion as fans show for high school football in Chilton County, gate revenue from games just isn’t enough to keep the programs going—especially when you consider that football is often counted on to provide for athletic programs that don’t make as much money.

So, coaches and athletic directors have to get creative. This year, they’re getting really creative.

Raffles and camps and such serve their purpose well, but it takes fresh ideas to the money coming in. Three local schools—Billingsley, Jemison and Maplesville—this year are holding alumni football games, which will be played with equipment and officials by former players and students.

Maybe I’ve been jaded by this make-money-quick society we live in, but the first thing that entered my mind when I heard this proposal was, “That’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.”

Now that I know more about the games, though, it sounds like a pretty good idea.

Participants must sign releases and will wear regulation equipment provided by the schools.

And the games should turn a large profit. Maplesville coach Brent Hubbert said he has about 40 players signed up at $25 each. $5 admission will also be charged, so Maplesville football could stand to make more than $1,000 off the game.

Jemison opened up registration to former students—not just football players—and has had enough interest shown that practices have been organized.

The best part is these games should be wildly entertaining (Maplesville’s is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, Jemison’s a little later at 6 p.m.—weather permitting).

“It ought to be interesting,” said Hubbert, who will play in the game. “I counted it up, and we’ll have 10 or 11 all-state players out there.”

Some of these guys are going to find out they’re not in nearly as good of shape as they thought (I’m right there with you). But no matter how many former players can’t get out of bed Sunday, current players will be better off because of it.