This week’s REVIEW opinion page is filled with letters to the editor related to the upcoming election. That’s as expected and as it should be. Healthy conversation about choices is an important part of the process.
There also is a letter on page A11 that has to do with a poor choice that has nothing to do with the election. I wanted to make sure I draw your attention to the letter from Douglas Boone, CEO of Premier Communications. It deals with the choice the Iowa High School Athletic Association made when it sold the rights to the high school state championships to the Iowa High School Sports Network, who then contracted out to NBC Sports Chicago.
As we’ve went over in this column before, NBC Sports Chicago is not one of your free, over-the-air channels. It’s also not one of the channels provided by local cable systems on most providers in the western half of Iowa.
Boone gives us some real numbers on what it would cost Premier to add that channel to its lineup — $300,000 annually for a channel that many of you don’t necessarily want and may only watch during the boys’ state championships.
Of course, NBC Sports Chicago is widely available in Illinois and Indiana. I’m sure they are pumped to watch the Iowa high school championships each fall (sarcasm alert). I’d like to see what the ratings are in those areas.
Meanwhile, everyone in Iowa can enjoy the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union’s championship events. Those are broadcast on Iowa Public Television.
Three years ago people on this side of the state did a pretty good job of banding together to put pressure on the IHSAA, the IHSSN and their sponsors to remedy this situation. The IHSAA and IHSSN begged people to back off, claiming it was a three-year deal and the buyout on the contract would be far too expensive to buy out at that time.
Guess what boys? Your three years are up.
Not surprisingly, there has been no recent information about any new negotiations. My guess is they want to keep those as quiet as possible. This is just my opinion, but what I’m guessing is that the deal was profitable for the IHSAA and IHSSN, so they want to continue on with the current plan — once again selling out the western half of the state.
It’s up to those of us that live on this side of the state to make some noise. Ask the questions. Write the letters. Make the phone calls. Make sure the IHSAA and IHSSN know we’ve suffered through this long enough and continuing that deal is simply unacceptable.
Sheldon plans scrimmage
Sheldon High School will be hosting an Iowa Hall of Pride Challenge boys basketball scrimmage night and will try to put its own twist on the proceedings.
The Pride Challenge is a community service initiative with the option to participate in a basketball scrimmage. Proceeds from the Pride Scrimmage may be used to benefit a chosen service project or may be retained by the host school, after a $250 contribution to the Richard Jacobson Education Fund at the Iowa Hall of Pride.
The Sheldon event will take place Saturday, Nov. 24. It starts at 1:30 p.m. with Sioux City East taking on Spirit Lake in a scrimmage. At 3 p.m., Sheldon will face Sioux City Heelan.
Sheldon activities director and boys basketball coach Eric Maassen also is looking for former Orab basketball players, female and male, to participate in alumni games that will be held starting at 4:30. Depending on numbers, there will be female and male games for former Sheldon basketball players based on age.
Proceeds from the event will go toward ALS research and the Orab boys and girls basketball programs.