Erica Mihok/NEWS Neshannock's Brian Clause hits the ball on the third hole against Laurel High School at Castle Hills.

Neshannock parents and patrons no longer will have to pay to watch their children play minor sports.

However, spectators at varsity football and boys and girls basketball games will still have to pay an admission fee.

Any Neshannock student in the high school or junior high who participates in any sport will continue to pay a $50 pay-to-play fee.

Families with more than one student in sports or with students in more than one sport are required to pay a $50 fee per child per sport up to $250 per family.

District superintendent Dr. Terence P. Meehan issued an executive order at the board’s Oct. 9 meeting, to suspend the patron fees at minor sports games.

“Until now, I never realized there had been a fee for junior high or middle school games,” said Meehan, who assumed his position July 1. “Most districts don’t charge for these games.”

The decision was made after a parent — whose five children participate in a variety of sports within the district — asked if a discount could be offered to parents.

The woman said she not only pays the $50 fees for her children to participate, but she also pays to watch them play.

Currently, adults attending minor sports games pay $2 and students pay $1 admission.

On some nights, the woman may attend soccer, volleyball and junior high football games and have to pay to watch them all, she said.

The mother suggested an option for parents to purchase discount passes, according to Meehan, but he decided to eliminate the minor sports charges instead.

The matter will be discussed further at the board’s athletic committee meeting in November, he said, then it will be referred back to the full board.

“We don’t really collect that much from these sports,” he reasoned, “and I don’t know why we’re charging people to see their own kids play since the same parents are paying the pay-to-play fees.”

District business manager Justin DiMuccio said that the district last year collected about $7,700 from minor sports, which include varsity baseball, junior high boys and girls basketball, junior high football, varsity boys and girls soccer, varsity girls softball and junior varsity football.

He said about $3,600 was collected in the past school year from game attendance on the junior high level and lower.

DiMuccio noted the district will continue to charge for football and basketball tickets.

In the 2013-14 school year, the district collected $4,300 from varsity girls basketball ticket sales, $12,000 from varsity boys basketball and $21,000 from varsity football, he said.

Meehan said that this year, for the first time in more than 30 years, the district stands to make money from football playoffs.

Neshannock will host a game Oct. 31. Future post-season play will be held at neutral fields, he said.

(Email: nlowry@ncnewsonline.com)

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