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High Schools Paying More To Play In State Tourneys

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- It's state tournament time in Minnesota, and it will cost more for some schools to make the trip this year.

The Minnesota State High School League has warned schools to expect smaller reimbursement checks at the end of the school year.

Mayer Lutheran High School may only be home to 180 students, but on Friday nearly all of them made the 45-mile trip to St. Paul to see their team compete on the volleyball court.

Tim Bierbaum is the school's activities director.

"Sending fan buses and sending team buses and having the team stay overnight does take quite a bit of money," Bierbaum said.

Mayer Lutheran will spend a few thousand dollars to make the trip between mileage, buses, meals and hotels. In year's past, the MSHSL would bump a couple hundred dollars back to the school from tournament proceeds.

But with no Metrodome to play tournament football or soccer in for the next two years, the league is warning schools that money might not be there.

Mike Millea is the MSHSL's media specialist.

"We all know that bad weather doesn't help ticket sales for anything or anything outdoors," Millea said.

Tournament soccer has moved to St. Cloud, and only championship football will play at TCF Bank Stadium. The league doesn't think as many people will show, so it expects to cut into the average reimbursement check of $650 participating schools receive.

"It's kind of like a family budget," Millea said. "You know it's going to be smaller, you just have to wait and see what the numbers are when you're done."

Mayer Lutheran has already budgeted for the change and won't let money block a state tournament berth.

"We're still going to make the trip," Bierbaum said. "We're still going to bring our fans down here and have as much fun as we can."

In the past, the MSHSL had to pay a user fee at the Metrodome for things like security and clean up.

But new stadium legislation spells out that there will be no cost to the league, meaning this is again only temporary.

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