Funding aside, tourneys continue at FHSU
By RANDY GONZALES
After seeking financial assistance from the city of Hays last year, Fort Hays State University Athletic Director Curtis Hammeke has not had any additional talks regarding financial concerns with playing host to state high school athletic events.
"We haven't done anything," Hammeke said. "We're just going on with the state tournaments as planned."
FHSU will play host to the Kansas State High School Activities Association's Class 1A Division I and Division II state volleyball tournaments Friday and Saturday in Gross Memorial Coliseum.
In November, the Class 2-1A state football championship game will be at Lewis Field Stadium, and, in the spring, FHSU will play host to the Class 3-2-1A state wrestling tournament and the Class 1A Division II boys' and girls' basketball tournaments.
Hammeke had an informal discussion with Hays City Manager Toby Dougherty in the spring of 2012 about the financial issues FHSU was experiencing with state events. Hammeke said in an interview last fall he would like financial assistance from the city.
"I would be hopeful that the city would be willing to help us financially in securing these events in the future, so it doesn't become a point where it's actually costing us money to run the events," Hammeke said in a story in the Oct. 14, 2012, issue of The Hays Daily News.
FHSU receives all concession income from state events, and receives a percentage of income generated from ticket sales. Hammeke said FHSU's take is 20 percent of the gate. As well, FHSU has added a $1 surcharge on every adult ticket the last several years.
Most of the other state sites do not do that, Gary Musselman, executive director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association, said in an interview last fall.
The most recent FHSU study estimating the state tournaments' economic impact for the city of Hays came out in 2012. For the four state events, the combined financial impact was $1,628,370. Those figures do not count fans who make day trips to state events and do not stay overnight.
Hammeke said issues other than hosting state events have been at the forefront for his department.
"I wouldn't say I have given up on it, but I haven't had much time to address it lately," he said of FHSU's financial issues involving state tournaments. "I'd say it's on the back burner. We've had a lot of facility development going on lately."