Winter causes headaches for high school athletic departments

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COLUMBIA - This season's winter weather has caused cancellations, potential revenue loss and headaches for high school athletic departments.

"This winter has been quite busy for us. There are games that we haven't rescheduled because we just can't find the dates, so that's a loss in opportunity for revenue and game experience for student athletes and coaches," said Chad Masters, activities and athletic director at Father Tolton Catholic High School.

Tolton is one of several Missouri high schools, including Rock Bridge and Sturgeon, that have had to reschedule Tuesday games due to weather.

Masters said canceling games involves much more than people realize. 

"A lot of people think that you canceling games is real easy. Canceling is easy but all the leg work: the transportation, the officials, the workers of the game, finding open dates that work for both schools," Masters said. 

Rescheduling games results in struggling to find officials considering a shortage across the state.

"If you have something cancelled or moved, you may run into a trouble with having officials being able to work that game, or it might change the kind of officials you have on the game," said Masters.

Masters said officials are on a contract starting at the beginning of the season. This contract says which games the officials will work and organizes how they get paid. 

"Your write the checks. You have things ready for the officials and then things get cancelled and moved around. You don't have the same guys the next game. You just have to adjust," Masters said. 

High school athletic departments receive money from concessions and ticket sales. If games are continually cancelled or rescheduled, departments could lose money.

"A lot of our athletic departments across the state use that to supplement their athletic budgets or their school budgets to help support their programs," Masters said. 

He said the main concern is safety.

"The biggest thing is that we make sure the safety of the kids is paramount. Is it safe to transport kids to us or out to other schools? We'll err on the side of finding an alternate date if possible," said Masters. 

Father Tolton Catholic High School cancelled the boys' basketball district game Tuesday night against Fatima High School and rescheduled it for 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday at 141 Wildcat Road, Linn, MO 65051.