Cancellation of Tiffin Cross Country Carnival leads to athletic budget shortfall

Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 7:55 AM EDT
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TIFFIN, Ohio (WTVG) - The calendar is exactly a month away from what should be a packed starting line at Hedges-Boyer Park for the 52nd annual Tiffin Cross Country Carnival.

“We bring in over 6,800 runners a year,” Columbian High School athletic director Daniel Hartsel said. “Generally you kind of multiple that by four for spectators, so you’re looking at bringing in about (30,000 to 35,000) spectators.”

Due to COVID-19 concerns and restrictions, Columbian High School will not hold the event at the same scale in 2020. There will however be a smaller, Seneca County-focused meet on September 12.

This decision by Hartsel does not help his annual athletic department budget. In entry fees alone from teams competing in the Carnival, the fund receives about $70,000 -- or about 60% of the annual budget.

“When you see what we just do in T-shirt sales, it just blows you away,” Hartsel said. “It is right around ($25,000 to $30,000) that goes directly to our athletic program. Then you times that from the entry fees.”

One idea Hartsel says is under consideration to help with the gap in funding from the Carnival is a community-wide garage sale at Frost-Kalnow Stadium.

“The lack of revenue will hopefully open up some different things for us to be able to do some things that we’ve never done to help create that revenue,” Hartsel said.

Tiffin Columbian’s Athletic Boosters are also facing a shortfall through its concession stand at the Carnival.

“It’s huge revenue for us,” Tiffin Columbian Athletic Boosters president Kem Jackson said. “We maybe come in over 10, 11 grand. it is our second biggest income we get to add for the year.”

The boosters are considering food trucks for the smaller meet in September to match COVID compliance while also asking for a small percentage of sales from those vendors to help with its budget.

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