For the Cumberland Times-News
Writer alleges misuse of Ravens QB Challenge tickets; Preaskorn responds
To the editor:
The Allegany High School Camper varsity football team and the Fort Hill High School Sentinel varsity football team were provided with free tickets and invited to be guests of honor at M&T Bank Stadium for the Ravens-Steelers game on Sunday, Dec. 2. During halftime, both teams' quarterbacks competed in the Quarterback Challenge alongside two receivers from each of their respective teams. The Ravens provided an equal number of tickets to each team, enough tickets for both teams to attend the game and cheer on their teammates participating in the Quarterback Challenge.
Todd Appel, the head coach for Fort Hill’s varsity football team, invited all of Fort Hill’s senior players to attend the game, and then drew names for the remaining tickets to be distributed among the juniors on the team.
Tom Preaskorn, the head coach for Allegany's varsity football team, did not invite his players to attend the game. In attendance of the game, you will find the three Allegany players who participated in the Quarterback Challenge and their parents. Coach Preaskorn is also enjoying the game from M&T Stadium, along with his family and friends. Unfortunately, Coach Preaskorn did not deem it necessary to invite any one of the other players from his team.
I would like to thank the Baltimore Ravens for their generous gift and for the opportunity to participate in such a prestigious event. I would also like to wish the best of luck to both teams, and also extend my sympathies to the Allegany players, whose head coach did not feel that they needed the rest of their team present for support.
As per the Baltimore Raven’s website, under the Quarterback Challenge link (http://www.baltimoreravens.com/ravenstown/youth-football/qb-challenge.html) it is clearly stated the SCHOOL receives the tickets to the game, not the varsity football players, much less the senior players.
Since the number of tickets (25) was half of the allotted amount than the last time Allegany and Fort Hill were invited (2006), I decided that the tickets would be given to the three participants and their respective families. The remainder were given to the assistant coaches, in particular those who had forfeited attending in 2006. This decision allowed for the participants of the passing competition to travel at their own expense and to remain under the supervision of their parents. The coaches traveled at their own expense. In addition, the Quarterback Challenge did NOT provide an option to purchase additional tickets, as has been erroneously reported.
At the game, both Allegany and Fort Hill representatives sat together. At halftime, both head coaches accompanied their participants to the field. The winner, Allegany, was awarded a $500 Under Armour product card for the use of the school’s ATHLETIC department (see website). This card was turned in to the administration of the high school.
Had we been allotted the number of tickets we were given in 2006, I would have managed this event accordingly. Unfortunately, only half of the amount was offered. Based upon the experience in 2006, with a much larger group, this event was a major expense for our Gridiron Club, as well as a logistical nightmare. Equally, the liability of insuring the well-being of the attendees within the environment became an abundantly challenging effort. This was enough so that those who had supervised previously did not care to do so ever again. The group was exposed to behavior that many had not been prepared for, and frankly, I did not care to take on that responsibility again.
It is unfortunate that a false perception existed for whom these tickets were intended. However, I stand by my decision, which was made based upon what I believed to be best for the invited passing competition participants and their families.
I welcome the opportunity to discuss this further, should there be any additional questions. Feel free to contact me directly.
Head football coach
Allegany High School
ADDENDUM: I was contacted (on Tuesday, Dec. 4) at 3 p.m. by the Ravens organization, which, according to them, was prompted by an inquiry made by an anonymous individual to that organization.
When I asked the representative about whether or not purchasing additional tickets was an option, I was told that it was not normally the case to do so, but if it were specifically asked and if the availability existed, it might be possible. My decision was based upon our previous experience in the Quarterback Challenge in 2006, in which no additional tickets were available for purchase. Had I known beforehand that more tickets could have possibly been purchased; I would have taken the opportunity. However, that information was not readily put forth at the time.