State Rules Protect Players in the Power Game of School Athletics
This Friday possibly the biggest high school game in the state will be happen, as the Jenks Trojans face the Union Redskins in the annual Backyard Bowl. Each team will walk away with thousands of dollars and policies in place to manage that money.
This huge rivalry is also a game of big money. MidFirst Bank sponsors the game, giving 12,500 to each team's educational programs.
But each of these teams is competing to be the best. The programs are fueled by high powered booster clubs and sponsors that make out of town trips possible and in some cases covering even salaries of athletic personnel.
The OSSAA has strict rules, prohibiting payment to players and schools are extra careful, with eligibility.
Violations can mean suspensions. and penalties that Jenks has felt before--that both teams now try to prevent.
"We hold out a lot of athletes while we are checking eligibility because we never want to put that one individual, above everyone else above the rest of the team that has been doing the right thing," said Emily Warren, Athletic Director for Union.
Compliance is so important most schools have one full-time person to manage it.