Fairmont Area, Gemini contract is a mistake

Fairmont Area Schools has reached an agreement with Gemini Studios of Fairmont to broadcast high school athletic events live on the Internet. The studio is getting $18,000 per year through 2018.

Um, so, is the school going to be signing contracts with the radio station and newspaper for coverage as well? The answer is no, because high schools do not pay the media to cover their events. And the media should not expect it.

There are other problems with this deal.

First is the financing. The school has made a point of saying funds paid to Gemini are coming from rental of school-owned farm land. This is an irrelevant accounting gimmick. School funds are school funds. When they are spent on something they shouldn’t be spent on, they are gone. They can’t be spent on something important.

Second, Gemini is a private business that sells advertising and gets donations from sports associations to cover events. Is the school (taxpayers) going to get any percentage of the advertising or donations that Gemini receives?

School officials also say they are trying to ensure “gender equity” by paying Gemini to cover 40 boys and 40 girls events. There is no federal general equity issue involved here. Gemini has covered whatever it has wanted to cover. It can and should. The feds are not going to intervene. There may be locals who complain about what gets covered. That is between them and Gemini.

Superintendent Joe Brown says live broadcasts of games on the Internet will boost college recruitment of local athletes. That’s a stretch, to say the least. Colleges are not going to watch Gemini for recruiting purposes.

School board member Dan Brookens says the service through Gemini represents a luxury (he means it as a compliment) for the school and its students. Yes, an unnecessary and expensive one.