OHSAA encouraging members to help Houston

COLUMBUS — The amount of support and generosity being shown toward the city of Houston and the surrounding areas toward Hurricane Harvey relief efforts has been nothing short of impressive.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association is now encouraging its membership — all 800 plus strong — to get involved themselves.

Jerry Snodgrass — the OHSAA’s Director of Sport Management — has been organizing the initiative, which is slated for football games during the weekend of Sept. 15 and 16.

“The response I’ve already received has been mind blowing,” Snodgrass said. “I’ve been receiving things in the mail from all over the state already.”

The OHSAA sent a memo to every athletic director in the state, encouraging the schools to become involved in any way possible. According to Snodgrass, he gave three immediate ideas to help, including donating the proceeds from a 50-50 raffle at a football game, collecting clothing and send those or hold a canned food drive or collect other types of supplies that could be sent.

“I know some of our schools and students are really thinking big already on this,” Snodgrass said. “I think when we challenge our kids, they’ll respond.”

Before reaching out to the schools, Snodgrass began the initiative through his Twitter account (@Jerry_Snodgrass) on which he has nearly 7,000 followers.

“Actually, I think because of the number of students and groups that follow me on social media and my relations to the schools, I had people reach out to me asking if they could do something,” Snodgrass said. “I kind of thought about it finally thought, ‘why not?’ We just ran with it from there.”

Snodgrass has been utilizing #HelpingHouston on Twitter. He’s been Tweeting and re-Tweeting pictures he’s received from throughout the state of teams and schools packing up their boxes to send to Columbus. After he receives the packages, he and his staff, which consists of Lauren Prochaska, Emily Gates, Jenn Close and Jacki Windon, will forward them on to Houston.

“I couldn’t do this without the help of those working with me,” Snodgrass said. “Those folks are willing to volunteer — outside of work time — to box things up.”

Several area schools are planning to take part in some way or another. St. Clairsville’s soccer teams collected money during their games against Steubenville and they’ll do so again this week.

Snodgrass helped iniate the OHSAA’s ‘Golden Megaphone’ competition, which recognizes student sections. He also helped bring the ‘military appreciation night’ to fruition. It’s held in January.

“I consider myself blessed to be a part of educational-based athletics,” Snodgrass, who has been with the OHSAA for 10 years, said. “It goes far beyond winning and losing and I feel responsible to continue to try to teach that.”

Some schools have actually turned it into a competition, according to Snodgrass. He’s perfectly OK with that, too.

“The underlying purpose of helping is what it’s all about and however we do it will work,” Snodgrass said. “I foresee it being as successful as it can be.”

Snodgrass is a former coach, athletic director and principal. When he was the head coach at Findlay, he had a point guard by the name of Ben Roethlisberger.

“I spent 27 years at Findlay and coached basketball from 1983 until 2000 and was the head coach for 10 of those years,” Snodgrass said.

He now sports administrator for the OHSAA for basketball, baseball, softball, soccer and hockey.

“I’ll keep going until it’s not fun anymore,” Snodgrass said. “I love what I do. I think if they’re willing to pay me to be involved with athletics, where do I sign up?”