The eyes of the Class 5A Oklahoma high school football world will be on Yukon Friday when Carl Albert and Bishop McGuinness do battle for the state championship at Miller Stadium.
Yukon High School is no stranger to hosting some of the state’s largest high school sporting events. In the 2016-2017 schoolyear, Yukon hosted a state baseball tournament, a state volleyball tournament, a state basketball tournament, a state track meet, a regional tennis tournament, a regional softball tournament and a regional baseball tournament.
This academic year, the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association (OSSAA) selected Yukon to host a state baseball tournament, regional cheer competition and a regional softball tournament. They are going to host the Class 5A state football championship, more state baseball tournaments and a state track meet.
Yukon Public Schools’ Director of Athletics, Mike Clark, said Yukon is a great place to host major high school athletic events.
“We have great facilities here,” Clark said. “It’s a centralized location and we have tremendous people who are committed to putting on the best event possible. We are trying to be a good (OSSAA) member as long as it is feasible for us. There are several things we have to take into consideration when the OSSAA calls and makes a request. We have to weigh the cost of an event, the wear and tear it will cause and whether or not getting students out of class to help work the event is the best for the our students.”
OSSAA Associate Director, Mike Whaley, said Yukon meets the criteria in every category when searching for host sites for events.
“We look at three issues when it comes to finding a host site,” Whaley said. “We look at the playing surface of the facility. Is it going to be a playing surface that will not only be appealing to the athletes but is it completely safe? Second, we look at fan accommodations. How good is the seating and how good is the parking situation? Will our fans be comfortable and enjoy the environment. Third, is staffing. Does the host site want to do the work that is necessary to provide the best possible experience at the event? Yukon brings all three to the table. It’s a win, win for us.”
The cost to have a major-level high school athletics event at Yukon High School may cost the OSSAA roughly $3,000 depending on the event whereas that same event at a smaller venue would only cost roughly $600.
Clark said the difference in cost is a direct reflection of the different amenities Yukon provides.
“If they want to use our football stadium for either football or track and they want to operate the video board, it will cost extra,” Clark said.
One of the common notions of hosting these events at Yukon High School is that the school district makes money. Clark said that is not always the case.
“As a school district, we are trying to break even,” Clark said. “Our workers who are there working the game and helping with the production of the game get paid by the OSSAA. Our band is going to benefit from the 5A state football game on Friday because they will get the concessions money. In baseball, our baseball program makes some money because they are the ones who are working the event.”
Clark said it’s a good way to help pay back the sponsors and vendors who support Yukon athletics.
“The good thing about hosting these events is the amount of people who are going to come into Yukon and spend money in Yukon,” Clark said. “We are very thankful and blessed to have the sponsors that we do, so to be able to host events like this will be a way we can give back to the businesses in Yukon.”
The 5A state championship football game between Carl Albert and Bishop McGuinness will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday.