Despite two significant groups of people being admitted for free to the Blount County basketball tournament this year, the tournament collected $35 more than seven years ago when Cleveland last hosted the tournament, according to Cleveland High School principal Denise Martin.
Cleveland High School made the decision to allow all Blount County basketball players and Blount County Board of Education employees in for free.
“Normally, we didn’t let any player participating in junior varsity or varsity in for free if they weren’t playing that day,” Martin said. “However, we let them in for free both weeks this time. I’m sure it hurt the cost, but we thought those kids deserved a little perk.”
The agreement to have all Blount County Education employees attend for free was not just to give them a perk. It was a safety measure.
“In the midst of an emergency or a lockdown, they are trained,” Martin said. “An incentive for them to attend was needed.”
Money made from the tournament will go toward the same expenses as the regular season proceeds including officials, gym maintenance, uniforms, and equipment, according to Martin. However, before the school receives any of that money the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) automatically receives 5 percent of the revenue, she said.