By Nick Stevens, HighSchoolOT managing editor
Raleigh, NC – A new bill introduced in the North Carolina State House would require schools to accept alternative payment methods for all high school sports.
House Bill 38, “Entry Fees for HS Interscholastic Events,” requires all schools to accept entry fees for high school events. In addition, it would require a Tar Heel Card for senior card holders to be admitted to a high school game for free.
This bill was presented to the State House on Tuesday by Rep. A. Reece Pyrtle Jr. (R-Rockingham). Pyrtle told HighSchoolOT that he has heard from districts about issues with digital tickets, but he also had first-hand experience.
“I actually had an experience at a high school football game last time where I had to download an app, enter credit card information and pay for each ticket to gain entry to the event,” Pyrtle said in an email. “There are some adults and students in our communities who may not have the money to buy tickets to games like this. They should not be excluded from attending any interscholastic athletic event.”
HB 38 was also supported by Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln), Rep. Ben T. Moss Jr. (R-Moore), Rep. Charles W. Miller (R-Brunswick), and Rep. Jarrod Lowery (R. -Robeson).
“If an admission fee is charged for an interscholastic event, the fee shall be accepted as payment for admission during the event,” the bill states.
The bill would not prevent schools from using digital ticketing companies, but would also allow schools to pay fees. It will apply to all schools under the jurisdiction of the North Carolina State Board of Education – including all members of the NC High School Athletic Association, public and private.
Since the CCID-19 crisis, many high schools have moved to digital ticketing systems, often requiring attendees to purchase tickets via mobile phone. Although this may help to improve the behavior of the players and the people who work the reception gate, it has raised concerns for some fans.
Over the past few years, long lines have been experienced where fans buy tickets in line. There may be connection issues with other schools as well. In addition, senior executives may not have compatible phones.
The second point in the bill talks about senior officials. If passed, HB 38 would require schools to grant free admission to anyone with an adult Tar Heel Card issued by the Department of Health and Human Services.
If the bill is passed, it would go into effect for the 2023-2024 school year. HighSchoolOT has contacted the NCHSAA for a response.