Audible called on game location

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Liability concerns prompts Plan B approach for June tilt

Sometimes, the original football play call simply will not work against the defensive alignment, and the quarterback is forced to call an audible and change the play to achieve success.

Such appears to the case for the nearly 90 athletes signed up to play in the inaugural Cassville-Monett Alumni Football game which will now be played on June 24, at 2 p.m. in Mt. Vernon.

Originally, the game was set for 7 p.m. June 23 at Burl Fowler Stadium. A $200 fee had been paid to secure the facility, and the teams had been notified. However, based on the advice of Ransom Ellis III, Monett school attorney, the district opted to back out of allowing the game to be contested on school premises.

“Daryl Bradley [Monett athletic director] brought the game [idea] to me and I thought it was something that our attorney should take a look at,” said Brad Hanson, Monett superintendent. “It was his opinion that the school should not get involved and that the event posed too much risk for the district.”

Hanson said he informed the school board of the attorney’s recommendation and they agreed that it would be in the district’s best interest not to serve as the host site.

Bob Cazet, Alumni Football USA CEO, already had one game scheduled at Mt. Vernon for June 24 and was able to move and schedule the Cassville-Monett game for the afternoon at Mountaineer Stadium.

“Monett and their superintendent were very cordial in there dealings with me,” Cazet said. “I understand their concerns. We’ve hosted over 1,200 of these games without incident. We carry a $1 million liability policy with a $2 million aggregate. Each player signs a waiver and must have health insurance in order to play in the game.”

Hanson said Ellis has concerns over the district’s obligation if the private insurance carrier refused payment.

Monett alumnus Eric Norris said that the players plan to petition the Monett School Board for reconsideration and also to present additional information such as the actual insurance policy and waiver form.

“We showed up Sunday to practice and there was a soccer league playing on the turf,” Norris said. “They had use of the restrooms and scoreboard. I wonder how much insurance they carry to use the facility [for those events]. I would think $3 million and the waiver would be enough for the school. The liability would not be greater at our football game than was present at the soccer game Sunday. I think the issue can be resolved with a little more communication.”

Norris, who is an insurance professional, said he could understand the school board being leery of the situation with Cazet based out of California and a possible feeling that this was a fly-by-night operation. But he also stressed that Monett has 50 alumni committed to play in the game and for a company that has hosted over a thousand of these games before.

“We’ve been working with the Monett Booster Club and coordinating with them to run the concession stand, sell tickets and a program and letting them keep those funds,” Norris said. “We can see this event turning into an all-school reunion situation and the guys want to play at their home stadium. We don’t want Mt. Vernon to get all of our money. We are Cubs and we would like to play on our home turf.”

Cazet still holds out hope that the game could revert to Monett. The location audible has been called, but there is still a little time left before the play clock expires.

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