The D.C. Coaches Association plans to continue the annual East-West All-Star Football Game for high school seniors of the Interhigh and Metro conferences, although the game has faltered for various reasons in recent years and last month attracted only 4,000 spectators to RFK Stadium.
"We're going to put forth every effort to make sure that there is a game next year," said Frank Parks, the game's coordinator and athletic director at Spingarn.
Since 1983, the game, in its 17th season, has suffered from lack of promotion and attendance, causing the coaches association to rely more and more on funding from sources outside the public school administration.
This year's game would have been a financial disaster, according to Parks and coaches association President Jim Tillerson, if not for the help of Clifton Smith, secretary of the District of Columbia, and Curtis McClinton of the office of the deputy to the mayor.
Parks said total expenses for this year's game, including rental of RFK Stadium, came to approximately $17,000. McClinton and Smith, said Parks, helped raise about $13,000 in contributions by working through the District's Department of Recreation and small minority businesses, allowing the coaches association to break even.
"We want to continue to be supportive of the game because we see it as a major vehicle to bring high school students an opportunity to attend large and small universities," Smith said. "But we need to institutionalize the development of fund raising for the game."
"We have to have more financial support of the school board," Parks said. "Their support could help get us over the hump."
Parks and Smith agree that the game needs much more exposure and promotion. Smith suggests that the coaches association seek the aggressive participation of the NCAA or the NFL.
However, NCAA support has been somewhat difficult to get, and, in fact, the NCAA passed a rule three years ago which negates the original purpose of the game -- giving exposure to seniors who had yet to receive college scholarship offers.
The NCAA changed its rules in 1982 to prohibit college coaches and scouts from seeing potential recruits in person during the months of June and July.
"We feel there is a lot of potential to make the game better," said Tillerson. "And, as of now, there will be definitely be a game next year. We're already planning on it."