New bill would require cash be accepted at high school sports events in NC

New bill would require cash be accepted at high school sports events in NC

Posted January 31, 2023 12:20 p.m. EST
Updated January 31, 2023 1:30 p.m. EST

— A new bill filed in the North Carolina State House would require schools to accept certain forms of payment at all high school athletic events.

House Bill 38, "Entry Fees for HS Interscholastic Events," would require all schools to accept cash as a form of payment at high school events. In addition, it would require a Tar Heel Card for senior citizens cardholder be admitted to a high school athletic event free of charge.

The bill was filed in the State House on Tuesday by Rep. A. Reece Pyrtle Jr. (R-Rockingham). Pyrtle told HighSchoolOT he has heard from constituents about issues with digital ticketing, but he also had firsthand experience.

"I actually had an experience at a high school football game last fall where I was required to download an app, enter my credit card information and pay a convenience fee for each ticket to gain admission to the event," Pyrtle said in an email. "There are some adults and students in our communities that may not have the resources to purchase athletic tickets in such a manner. They should not be excluded from attending any interscholastic athletic event."

HB 38 has also been sponsored 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).

"When an admission fee is charged to an interscholastic athletic activity, cash shall be accepted as a form of payment for admissions at the time of the event," the bill says.

The bill would not prevent schools from using digital ticketing companies, but it would require schools to also allow for cash payments. It would apply to all schools subject to the governance of the North Carolina State Board of Education — including all members of the N.C. High School Athletic Association, both public and private.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many high schools have moved to digital ticketing systems, often times requiring attendees to purchase tickets through a mobile app. While this can help streamline the process for athletic administrators and people working the admission gate, it has raised concerns for some fans.

Over the last few years, long lines have been experienced where fans were purchasing tickets in line. There can be issues with connectivity at some schools as well. In addition, older adults attendees may not have compatible phones.

The second point in the bill addresses older adults specifically. If passed, HB 38 would require schools to allow free admission to anyone holding a Tar Heel Card for senior citizens 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 comment.