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Schedule reductions will go into effect

The proposed schedule cuts for Pinellas County high school sports are now a reality. Bob Hosack, director of Centralized Athletics in Pinellas, confirmed that the schedule plan has been approved by School Superintendent Howard Hinesley and his cabinet.

The plan reduces the schedule of every sport, except varsity football to save money next year.

The Pinellas school system's budget, which has experienced decliningrevenue, due to lower-than-expected tax money, is reducing expenses, department by department.

The schedule-cutting plan could save an estimated $109,198 next year, reducing costs for officials, school workers, transportation, utilities and, in the case of junior varsity football, ambulances.

Hosack reaffirmed what he said when the plan was first announced in March _ that this is not a long-term solution.

"This is a temporary measure," said Hosack, who added that the plan may be needed for only one year. He also repeated his contention that it is better to have across-the-board cuts, rather than the elimination of sports.

Varsity football remains untouched because football teams play only 10 games and there is no guaranteed postseason district competition, as there is for every other sport.

Also, football brings in big money. Of the $363,539 in ticket sales collected by the county in the 1989-90 school year, 66 percent ($238,644) came from varsity football games.

Because of the cuts, there will be some reduction in ticket revenue from the other sports, although there are no estimated figures. Boys basketball brought in $43,864.50 in 1989-90, which each team having a 22-game schedule. It will now have 18 games. Junior varsity football brought in $26.729.50, and its schedule is getting cut 25 percent, from eight to six games.

The schedule cuts will affect the Pinellas County Athletic Conference, which is composed of the 15 county high schools.

Basketball can no longer schedule enough games to support two divisions (and still play all the teams in the county). All 15 teams will be grouped together in one league.

In soccer, where each team's schedule goes from 15 to 12 matches, two divisions instead of three will be used.

Golf is also reducing three matches, down to 12. But golf teams will play the same number of opponents, in matches involving more teams.

Conference competitions in other sports won't be affected by the other changes.

Not all of the savings from the plan will be reflected in the athletic budget _ transportation, maintenance and other related departments are also in on the savings. Hosack has already proposed other athletic cuts, including the elimination of funding for coaches' clothing ($18,000) and football shoes ($24,000).

Shortened schedules

The 1991-92 school year will feature fewer athletic contests because of budget shortfall. Sports schedules for every sport except varsity football will be shortened. The following list shows the 90-91 and 91-92 schedule limits and the estimated gross savings for the county because of the reduction.

Sport '90 '91 est. savings

'91 '92

Baseball 20 18 $4,150

Basketball 22 18 $37,920

Cross country 15 12 $2,300

Golf 15 12 $2,250

JV football 8 6 $10,515

Soccer 15 12 $21,240

Softball 20 18 $4,150

Swimming 15 12 $5,175

Tennis 15 14 $1,200

Track and field 15 12 $3,600

Volleyball 17 14 $6,762

Wrestling 15 12 $9,936

Totals 192 160 $109,198

Note: Baseball, basketball, soccer, softball, volleyball and wrestling teams may also participate in two regular season tournaments.

Note II: Figures shown for basketball, cross country, soccer, swimming, tennis, and track and field are for both boys and girls teams.

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