Three local football teams waiting for reimbursement

February 17, 2010 9:00:39 PM PST
Three local schools are out tens of thousands of dollars after they packed their bags and headed south for a football game last fall. They were supposed to be reimbursed for their costs, but it hasn't happened. Lamar High School was one of those three local football teams promised reimbursement if they traveled to south Texas to play football. It's now track and baseball season and the districts are still waiting for their money.

It was a weekend of high school football at its best last August. Twenty teams at three different locations across the state were hosted by the Texas High School Football Fraternity.

Spokesperson Jason Elliott of the Texas High School Football Fraternity says it was meant to give some lesser known teams more exposure.

"We were trying to do something good for Texas high school football," said Elliott.

The games were played at stadiums like Frisco, Mission and Alice. Three Houston area teams were part of the lineup: Klein Forest, Clear Brook and Lamar.

According to those three districts, their football teams were promised through a contractual agreement reimbursement for travel expenses for the weekend football blitz. But almost six months later, and long after the last football of the season was snapped, those same three schools say they are still waiting for their money. Klein ISD says it is owed more than $15,000. They've turned it over to their attorneys to handle.

"If they were in a contractual situation and they were promised money, of course they should be getting compensated for it," said parent Jeff Andrews.

According to HISD, Lamar High School is owed $8,700. The district's legal department has sent a demand letter to the organization.

"No it's not fair. If they were promised, they need to deliver on their promise. Simple as that," said parent Tywana Rhone.

The Clear Brook football team was accompanied by the band, drill team and cheerleaders who according to the district are owed $20,000 in travel expenses.

Elliott explained by phone the organization experienced financial hardships when several teams pulled out of the classic at the last minute and he says ticket sales did not meet expectations.

"We took a really big hit down in the south and that's what really did it, when you have 300 people attending a game," said Elliott.

He says he has apologized to the districts and is working with them to make good on the terms of the contract.

"I know it's five months later, but we are taking care of our obligation," said Elliott.

It's something many parents feel is long overdue.

"Step up to the plate, deliver on the promise," said Rhone.

The spokesperson for the Texas High School Football Fraternity adds the organization has learned an unfortunate lesson and promises this will not happen again.


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