On January 13, Granite Hills athletic director Gary Stoddard and swim coach David Gong met in Stoddard's office to discuss “concession discrimination.”
The distribution of concessions allegedly prevented certain sports teams from obtaining concessions at home football and basketball games. Gong feels he was reassigned as coach to the boys swim team because he spoke out about the concessions policy at Granite Hills.
Coach Gong said, “I’m being punished for wanting to expose an injustice that has been going on for over a decade.”
Through the Freedom of Information Act, the Grizzly Gazette, obtained Granite Hills High School’s Associated Student Body concession records from Oct. 26, 2008, through Jan. 23, 2012.
Rich Rankin, a previous Granite Hills basketball coach, was the athletic director at Granite Hills from 1999 until the end of the 2009-2010 school year. Stoddard, the previous coach of basketball, football, and track, took over the following year in August 2010 and is currently the athletic director at Granite Hills.
The Basketball had had three times more concessions than the team with the second most: football. Basketball had 52 percent of all concessions in the last three years.
According to Stoddard, Granite Hills does not have a written policy on how concessions are distributed.
In the Porterville Recorder, Rankin said, “The lottery is used to determine what teams work what event.” In an interview with the Grizzly Gazette Stoddard clarified that Granite Hills is not currently using a lottery.
Shelly Lozano, the girls basketball coach and Rich Lambie, the volleyball and diving coach, stated that there is a coaches meeting at the beginning of the year where coaches can sign-up for concessions. In regards to the beginning of the year coaches meeting, Stoddard said, “I’ve never turned away a coach who has asked. I try to be as fair as I can be.”
When asked about the concession’s sign-up sheet, Gong said he has signed up for concessions at every meeting over the last four years.
Gong said, “I haven’t received any concessions in the four years I’ve been coaching.”
The Grizzly Gazette could not obtain any concession’s sign-up sheets for verification.
Ken Gibbs, assistant superintendent of Porterville Unified School District, met with David Gong and Granite Hills baseball coach Roberto De La Peña on Feb. 2 in a Granite Hills conference room. When shown the financial reports for concessions, Gibbs concluded that the numbers could have been that way for a number of reasons and that maybe some teams were not available or turned down the opportunity to host concessions. Gibbs is also conducting the concessions investigation PUSD.
Chris Ross, the coach for cross-country and track, said he has never turned down a concession.
Over the last three years concessions have been distributed to: basketball 49 times, football 17, track 14, softball 13, golf 12, tennis 11, wrestling nine, soccer eight, volleyball six, cross-country three, baseball one, water polo zero and swimming zero.
Gong, water polo and swim coach, said, “It’s important to know the numbers and who coached the teams with the most concessions. Look at the top three!”
Erik Bartlett, alumni from Granite Hills, played all four years on varsity swimming and water polo. He said, “I never worked a concession for [water] polo.”
Every three years, Granite Hills holds the Valley Swim Meet. Concessions and sales from that meet go into the ASB swimming account. In 2009, the profit from the Valley Swim Meet was $4429.17.
According to Yvonne Martinez, the student activities secretary at Granite Hills, concessions are split up by seasons. The profit made during the entire season is added up, and then the expenses are subtracted from the grand total. That number is then divided by the number of games there were, so that an average amount is created for each game. Each team that worked has the number of times they worked tallied up, and then they get that many shares of the pot.
For example, in spring 2011, there were five available concessions. Four were available for track, which football acquired; one was available for a National Junior Basketball (NJB) weekend tournament, which track acquired. Gross sales generated a total of $1291.10. After expenses were paid, a net profit of $525 was made. Since there were five games, the total is divided by five, making each game average around $105. Since football had four of those shares, by the process explained, football should have earned $420 and track $105. In the documented spring pay outs, football received $400 and track received $125.
In the last three years, football has played a total of 25 games, which means 25 opportunities to run concessions. Basketball has hosted 13 of the 25 concessions; wrestling two; soccer two; followed by ASB, track, softball, tennis, volleyball, baseball, and cross-country who each hosted one concession.
According to the ASB concesions report, the football team has only hosted one of the football concessions during the past three years. Rankin, as quoted in the Porterville Recorder said, “Whatever game is played, the team has priority. If it’s a football game, the football team has priority. If that team can’t, an alternative team can sign up.”
Coach Coldiron wrote in an email to the Grizzly Gazette, “I always let the A.D. know that we, the football team and golf team, were available to work the snack bars.”
For the 2011 football season, there were five home games for football. Each game averaged $758.86 before expenses were accounted for. A total profit of $2,325 was made during the 2011 fall season. Basketball earned $900, wrestling $600, track $375, and football $300.
When asked to respond to the ASB concessions report, Coldiron, said, “Football generates the most revenue, yet they aren’t getting [the profit] back.”
Clay Congdon, a varsity baseball player stated,”I haven’t received a new uniform in my three years of varsity and I have seen, in the past, other players wearing the same uniforms as [we do].”
Granite Hills administration asked baseball coach De La Peña to raise $2,500 to pay for half of the new baseball dugout. Coach De La Peña's varsity baseball team is currently seling food and conducting fundraisers. Baseball had one concession during the last three years.
The water polo team has never purchased new equipment, such as lane lines and goals.
Carina Felix, varsity swimmer, said, “I had to purchase my own swim cap, swim suit, and goggles last year.”
Martin Ayala, a track and cross-country participant, said, “track and cross-country use the same uniforms. I don’t think they have ever gotten new ones. We are supposed to get new ones this year, though.”
The visitor’s concession stand in Rankin Stadium is run by the Granite Hills High School Band Booster Club at each home football game. Therefore, their profits are not reported in the ASB concessions report.
Cheerleading has not had a concession since March 26, 2009. Cheer advisor Mindy Boyer did not respond to questions from the Grizzly Gazette.
Bud Luther, the boys varsity basketball coach, also did not respond to questions from the Grizzly Gazette.
PUSD is conducting its own investigation into the concessions policies at each high school throughout the district. Superintendent John Snavely and assistant superintendent Ken Gibbs are conducting the investigation to determine if any discrimination took place with concessions. All the records are being examined and coaches are being contacted for their responses.
Coach De La Peña said," We aren't working together. If we worked together, I think things would run better."
Some coaches who were interviewed by the Grizzly Gazettesuggested that clubs run the concessions to avoid controversy; others wanted the sports teams to have their own booster clubs. Some coaches said concessions are not worth the hassle.
With exception of Coldiron,De La Peña and Gong, most coaches said that they found nothing wrong with the concession scheduling and felt changes did not need to be made.
“Spring sports teams have concessions at their own meets. Baseball would have their own table where they would sell stuff. I’ve seen it for water polo also,” said Granite Hills enginneering and design teacher Dean Morris.
Stoddard also supported the idea that teams are welcome to set up their own “side-bars” at any home game.
Principal Jeff Bottoms said,"I'm anxious to see Dr. Gibbs' analysis for the Granite Hills concessions compared to the other high schools. As I've said all along, if there are any areas that need improvement, we will make those adjustments."
Coach Gong resigned as a Granite Hills swim coach last night after he received an email from PUSD head athletic director, Rich Rankin, who accused him of abandoning the boys swim team.
Elissa Lombardi, Granite Hills science teacher, said, “I think perhaps there should be a more transparent way to assign concessions, so instead of people saying that ‘he said-she said’, we need to put it on paper so that we know for a fact who requested concessions. Then I think the problem will go away.”
Photo Above: One of the many concession stands on Granite Hill's grizzlies campus. (Photo by Ernestina Quintero)
If you have any concerns or questions please contact:
Principal of Granite Hills Jeff Bottoms:
Superintendent John Snavely:
Assistant Superintendent Ken Gibbs:
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