School Refuses American Legion Team Access To Ball Field

Members of a local American Legion organization are crying “foul” after being told they are no longer welcome at a local high school.

American Legion Post 71 in Clayton has sponsored an American Legion baseball team at Corinth Holders High for the last two years.  Veterans at the legion post say they have never had a problem or any issues at the school until now.  When they asked recently for permission to use the Corinth Holders baseball field for the 2018 season they waited weeks for an answer. Finally, they were told no.

Athletic Director Emails
WTSB News has obtained copies of several emails sent to Alison Vetterl, the Athletic Director at Corinth Holders High. In an October 19 email, a Legion representative, J. Ryan Sikes, asked Coach Vetterl for a meeting to discuss using the fields in 2018 and find out if there would be any changes from the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

When the Legion had not heard back from Coach Vetterl in a week, a follow up email was sent on October 26th to her requesting a meeting with athletic officials and the principal.  Later that day, Vetterl replied, “Thank you, I will let you know. I have to touch base with my principal.”

After waiting another week without a meeting date, the Legion rep emailed Vetterl on Nov. 2nd for a third time requesting a meeting.

Finally, the next day, on Nov. 3rd Coach Vetterl emailed the Legion saying, “In discussing with our Principal, Mr. Daniels, Head Baseball Coach , and myself, we feel that during the summer time months we try do the field maintenance, and repairs, etc. It would also very difficult to have an administrator on duty during those times. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you.”

When pressed for a specific reason the American Legion was being rejected for use of the fields, Vetterl replied on Nov. 3rd, “Rather what has been done in the past, we have based our decision on what is now best for our students and our facilities.  Thank you for your time!”

Still seeking more information about why they were told no, Vetterl wrote in a Nov. 6th email, ”Sorry…but Mr. Daniels and myself feel that it is in the best interest of Corinth Holders High School that we decline to use of our facilities at this time.”

American Legion Pays, Others Don’t
Raymond Payne, a member of the Clayton American Legion, said the organization has paid Johnston County Schools $500 each year for use of the Corinth ball fields and often times leaves them in better shape than before the game began.

“The field is left in great shape. We drag it after the games,” Payne told WTSB. “We blow off the stands with blowers to rid it of debris. We take good care and leave it better than it was found.”

Payne contends other athletic grounds use ball fields at Corinth Holders school during the summer months and are not required to pay a fee.  They also don’t leave it like it was found.

“Other fields are being used by groups and the school is not being paid by them we’re told,” he said. “They don’t blow off the stands.”

If maintenance and repairs are issues in the summer, will the other teams also be prohibited from using the fields in 2018? Payne said he wants to know but can’t get any answers.  That’s why he called WTSB.

WTSB News has made a Public Records Request to Johnston County Schools for information about all the groups that use the fields and who does and does not pay. We’ve also asked if other athletic groups who share the same field with American Legion last summer are also being prohibited from using the fields in 2018.  So far, Johnston County Schools has not provided us any answers.

Student Threatened
Payne said he believes most of the athletic officials, including Corinth baseball coach Adam Weaver, are supportive of the American Legion but for some reason a few at the school are against the Legion Post 71 group.

Payne said the 18 member senior Legion Team would pull students from Corinth, Clayton, West Johnston and North Johnston High Schools to play a 10-game season beginning next May.  The legion team has been so successful they would like to start an 18 member junior team in 2018.

Payne said the real losers are the 36 youth who will miss out on Legion baseball in 2018.

Payne said he received a report last Wednesday from a potential high school player that if they signed up for 2018 American Legion baseball they would be dropped from their high school baseball team. Payne said it is one thing to deny the American Legion use of a field but another to coerce kids not to play legion ball.

Payne said he was involved with American Legion baseball when he lived in Maryland and school leaders there were always accommodating and helpful.

WTSB News reached out to Johnston County School officials for their side of the story on Nov. 9th. We have yet to hear back from officials for a comment.

As a side note, Allison Vetterl, the Athletic Director and soccer coach at Corinth Holders was recognized by the Johnston County School Board in June as the NC Soccer Coach of the Year.

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  • Ellie Mae Conservative

    what happened the public in Johnston County “Public” Schools?

  • Vickie Durham

    This is ridiculous!

  • Ellie Mae Conservative

    School administrators and politicians want to get money from gambling instead of kids playing baseball.

    Why do they even charge for the use of a field when the field is OVERpaid for with taxpayer money to begin with.

  • Tony Rabil

    Slam her but at the end you give her a Plug her this is a crock of Bull$87T

  • Windage-n-Elevation

    Wrong decision on the part of the school administrators.

  • Chris Mills

    These amenities are built with tax dollars anyone should be able to use them it’s a disgrace on the school administrators part. Especially when someone is paying to use them.

    • Bobbie Johnson

      I hate it when people respond with short answers like that, like her email. Sounds like she was avoiding them, and that the baseball Coach would have input, …..with kids being told they can’t play both, perhaps he isn’t a fan? It’s about the kids….. without a real reason, this is sad. I would rather kids play baseball than ride the streets and get into other trouble. I agree its a public place too , I am glad WTSB is looking into.

  • Jimmy Clapp

    Dr Renfrow preaches about the school system being “transparent” to all stakeholders. I guess the rules do not apply to him or anyone on the Board of Education. It is all smoke and mirrors and time for a change.

    • R W

      Thats because mr.renfrow (lowercase on his name on purpose), makes MORE MONEY, than the governor!
      READ:news story of:
      SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER DONATES SALARY FOR SCHOOL SUPPLIES

  • Charles W. Murphy

    Need to further research if this school no less than one week ago had a well publicized “Veterans Day” activity, then sneak around and pull this crap.

    Wanna know why I have full blown PTSD from Operation Iraqi Freedom? It wasn’t from being over there. It was when I came home and seen crap like this going on, while telling you “it’s all in your head.”

  • Jeffrey Parker

    I don’t see any of you out here at midnight working on these fields so they can look the way they do. Can’t even get you out to support the athletes during their events and yet you are slamming people and schools for something you know nothing about. Never see any of you volunteering to help at events, but yet you feel like you have some say in what happens. There were also others schools that were asked and turned them down but you don’t care. Get all the facts and not just what you read or hear from one side. If you would like to discuss this personally, you can find me at almost all school functions. Please stop and say hello and we will discuss any issues or concerns you may have. And to the people that are calling and leaving harassing messages for the AD, please leave a name you cowards.

    • Ryan Sikes

      Well since I’m the one who has been communicating with both your school and the county school system- I think I should set some things straight since you were not involved at all during any of this situation. First, I go to quite a bit of CHHS sporting events. I graduated from a high school in Kansas, and since that is over 1,116 miles away, I tend cheer on the high school that is designated to where my home is located, and where my tax money goes to. Secondly, don’t paint yourself as a hero here. You’re no martyr. You wouldn’t be at school events if you weren’t being compensated to do so or gaining benefit of doing so. I know that you’re the assistant AD at CHHS, but frankly I never saw you there at all last Spring/ Summer while I was coaching this Legion team at CHHS’s field. Why is that? Hmmm…. I remember locking the gate up to the school just about every night last summer. Third, no other facilities or schools told us no. We haven’t filled the application to be at any schools for 2018. All we did here is to ask for a meeting. We were told that we couldn’t use the facilities after following up twice after not hearing from anyone for three weeks asking only for a meeting to discuss the possibilities of using the field. As a professional courtesy, that’s too long to put someone off. Finally, I don’t hide behind my keyboard. Mr. Parker, if you would like to get the story of what really went on here, please feel free to reach out to me directly at (919) 812-5956 or email me at j.ryansikes@gmail.com. I’m not a coward, and I certainly don’t need to wait until the next event at CHHS for you and I to discuss this personally. You can give me a call whenever you’d like, and we can schedule a meeting one-on-one. And if you can’t tell, I’m Ryan Sikes. The “Mr. Sikes” mentioned in the email string with Coach Vetterl within this story. Thanks!

      • Coach Smith

        Maybe not for 2018, but did Clayton High say no at any time to this team playing on their field?

        • Ryan Sikes

          Clayton’s AD said no in 2017. The only reason we asked was because Corinth Holders was being laser leveled last year. But, that is really not the AD’s call. The AD at Clayton High School can say no, and so can the Principal. However, the call is ultimately up to the county because all schools within the State of North Carolina are owned by the public. Meaning that State of North Carolina Schools are public property.

          Essentially, if one organization is allowed, anyone else who asks is allowed to use the facilities. That is only true if a non-profit organization (such as American Legion Baseball) asks. The guidelines are the same with the American Legion Baseball as it is with the local cities and municipalities because of the tax-status of the organizations. Showcase baseball, on the other hand, is not afforded the same status since they are a for-profit organization.

          I see you are trying to discredit my point of not asking anyone this year for use of their fields, and not being told no. The point you are trying to make here is moot. I say that because no one at a school has the authority to say no to a non-profit if they are not posing a violation of county statutes or guidelines. Post 71 has done nothing that would call any of those requirements into question. We are operating well within the guidelines and county statutes. Therefore, we cannot be turned away unless sufficient evidence exists to show just cause.

  • ricks99

    I hope WTSB keeps pressing JoCo School Board for more info.

  • Andy Rataiczak

    I am an active legion member”S.A.L.” I’m sure that the legion is volunteering to pay the district 500 for using the facilities. Legions have donated more money and time and effort to schools, camps,4H groups and to young men and women” our children” ,to help with all kinds, than most people can imagine. Unbelievable that a school board and its administration will not let another non-profit organization help our youth as they have in the past.
    Sounds like 2 or 3 people “buttheads” are ruining a good thing.Find them, and oust them!
    I hope the people of this community stands behind the AMERICAN Legion!

  • Eddie Driver

    Let me start out by saying most of you that are posting comments only know 1 side of the story as usual and probably have never volunteered time at any of our fine schools within the county. I would like to ask you how many have volunteered at CHHS or any other public school in Johnston County? When this school was built there were many people across this state that came by for an event and talked about how great the facilities were at CHHS and I’m sure the school administrators would like to keep the athletic facilities that way. Most of you think the grass always stays green, without chemicals and water, and the dirt always stays perfectly level, without constant care. Coach Weaver works hard on his baseball field and takes great pride on how it looks. I would suggest you volunteer time or make a donation to the school’s booster club before you start complaining, the administration would love to have you come by and donate your time and money.
    Coach V does not need to be slammed for a decision that was probably made as a group so please take time to know the person and what she deals with each day. Was the decision the correct one? Not sure I agree with the decision but I do not know the reasons. Lets hope all parties involved will come together and sit down face to face and work out a solution for all those in the community. Community participation will go a long way to make this work.
    Dr. Renfrow and the BOE want to keep their schools in their best condition and they have become more transparent as much as they can. Please take some time and go down and listen to a BOE meeting to understand all the good things they are doing. Not sure how they were falsely accused in the comments below but I’m proud of who we have in Johnston County and their decision making for our kids and with the future plans they have for JCPS.
    Thanks Dr. Renfrow, JCPS staff, JC BOE, CHHS administrators, staff and coaches for all you do for the Corinth Holders community.

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  • Ellie Mae Conservative

    what happened the public in Johnston County “Public” Schools?

  • Vickie Durham

    This is ridiculous!

  • Ellie Mae Conservative

    School administrators and politicians want to get money from gambling instead of kids playing baseball.

    Why do they even charge for the use of a field when the field is OVERpaid for with taxpayer money to begin with.

  • Tony Rabil

    Slam her but at the end you give her a Plug her this is a crock of Bull$87T

  • Windage-n-Elevation

    Wrong decision on the part of the school administrators.

  • Chris Mills

    These amenities are built with tax dollars anyone should be able to use them it’s a disgrace on the school administrators part. Especially when someone is paying to use them.

    • Bobbie Johnson

      I hate it when people respond with short answers like that, like her email. Sounds like she was avoiding them, and that the baseball Coach would have input, …..with kids being told they can’t play both, perhaps he isn’t a fan? It’s about the kids….. without a real reason, this is sad. I would rather kids play baseball than ride the streets and get into other trouble. I agree its a public place too , I am glad WTSB is looking into.

  • Jimmy Clapp

    Dr Renfrow preaches about the school system being “transparent” to all stakeholders. I guess the rules do not apply to him or anyone on the Board of Education. It is all smoke and mirrors and time for a change.

    • R W

      Thats because mr.renfrow (lowercase on his name on purpose), makes MORE MONEY, than the governor!
      READ:news story of:
      SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER DONATES SALARY FOR SCHOOL SUPPLIES

  • Charles W. Murphy

    Need to further research if this school no less than one week ago had a well publicized “Veterans Day” activity, then sneak around and pull this crap.

    Wanna know why I have full blown PTSD from Operation Iraqi Freedom? It wasn’t from being over there. It was when I came home and seen crap like this going on, while telling you “it’s all in your head.”

  • Jeffrey Parker

    I don’t see any of you out here at midnight working on these fields so they can look the way they do. Can’t even get you out to support the athletes during their events and yet you are slamming people and schools for something you know nothing about. Never see any of you volunteering to help at events, but yet you feel like you have some say in what happens. There were also others schools that were asked and turned them down but you don’t care. Get all the facts and not just what you read or hear from one side. If you would like to discuss this personally, you can find me at almost all school functions. Please stop and say hello and we will discuss any issues or concerns you may have. And to the people that are calling and leaving harassing messages for the AD, please leave a name you cowards.

    • Ryan Sikes

      Well since I’m the one who has been communicating with both your school and the county school system- I think I should set some things straight since you were not involved at all during any of this situation. First, I go to quite a bit of CHHS sporting events. I graduated from a high school in Kansas, and since that is over 1,116 miles away, I tend cheer on the high school that is designated to where my home is located, and where my tax money goes to. Secondly, don’t paint yourself as a hero here. You’re no martyr. You wouldn’t be at school events if you weren’t being compensated to do so or gaining benefit of doing so. I know that you’re the assistant AD at CHHS, but frankly I never saw you there at all last Spring/ Summer while I was coaching this Legion team at CHHS’s field. Why is that? Hmmm…. I remember locking the gate up to the school just about every night last summer. Third, no other facilities or schools told us no. We haven’t filled the application to be at any schools for 2018. All we did here is to ask for a meeting. We were told that we couldn’t use the facilities after following up twice after not hearing from anyone for three weeks asking only for a meeting to discuss the possibilities of using the field. As a professional courtesy, that’s too long to put someone off. Finally, I don’t hide behind my keyboard. Mr. Parker, if you would like to get the story of what really went on here, please feel free to reach out to me directly at (919) 812-5956 or email me at j.ryansikes@gmail.com. I’m not a coward, and I certainly don’t need to wait until the next event at CHHS for you and I to discuss this personally. You can give me a call whenever you’d like, and we can schedule a meeting one-on-one. And if you can’t tell, I’m Ryan Sikes. The “Mr. Sikes” mentioned in the email string with Coach Vetterl within this story. Thanks!

      • Coach Smith

        Maybe not for 2018, but did Clayton High say no at any time to this team playing on their field?

        • Ryan Sikes

          Clayton’s AD said no in 2017. The only reason we asked was because Corinth Holders was being laser leveled last year. But, that is really not the AD’s call. The AD at Clayton High School can say no, and so can the Principal. However, the call is ultimately up to the county because all schools within the State of North Carolina are owned by the public. Meaning that State of North Carolina Schools are public property.

          Essentially, if one organization is allowed, anyone else who asks is allowed to use the facilities. That is only true if a non-profit organization (such as American Legion Baseball) asks. The guidelines are the same with the American Legion Baseball as it is with the local cities and municipalities because of the tax-status of the organizations. Showcase baseball, on the other hand, is not afforded the same status since they are a for-profit organization.

          I see you are trying to discredit my point of not asking anyone this year for use of their fields, and not being told no. The point you are trying to make here is moot. I say that because no one at a school has the authority to say no to a non-profit if they are not posing a violation of county statutes or guidelines. Post 71 has done nothing that would call any of those requirements into question. We are operating well within the guidelines and county statutes. Therefore, we cannot be turned away unless sufficient evidence exists to show just cause.

  • ricks99

    I hope WTSB keeps pressing JoCo School Board for more info.

  • Andy Rataiczak

    I am an active legion member”S.A.L.” I’m sure that the legion is volunteering to pay the district 500 for using the facilities. Legions have donated more money and time and effort to schools, camps,4H groups and to young men and women” our children” ,to help with all kinds, than most people can imagine. Unbelievable that a school board and its administration will not let another non-profit organization help our youth as they have in the past.
    Sounds like 2 or 3 people “buttheads” are ruining a good thing.Find them, and oust them!
    I hope the people of this community stands behind the AMERICAN Legion!

  • Eddie Driver

    Let me start out by saying most of you that are posting comments only know 1 side of the story as usual and probably have never volunteered time at any of our fine schools within the county. I would like to ask you how many have volunteered at CHHS or any other public school in Johnston County? When this school was built there were many people across this state that came by for an event and talked about how great the facilities were at CHHS and I’m sure the school administrators would like to keep the athletic facilities that way. Most of you think the grass always stays green, without chemicals and water, and the dirt always stays perfectly level, without constant care. Coach Weaver works hard on his baseball field and takes great pride on how it looks. I would suggest you volunteer time or make a donation to the school’s booster club before you start complaining, the administration would love to have you come by and donate your time and money.
    Coach V does not need to be slammed for a decision that was probably made as a group so please take time to know the person and what she deals with each day. Was the decision the correct one? Not sure I agree with the decision but I do not know the reasons. Lets hope all parties involved will come together and sit down face to face and work out a solution for all those in the community. Community participation will go a long way to make this work.
    Dr. Renfrow and the BOE want to keep their schools in their best condition and they have become more transparent as much as they can. Please take some time and go down and listen to a BOE meeting to understand all the good things they are doing. Not sure how they were falsely accused in the comments below but I’m proud of who we have in Johnston County and their decision making for our kids and with the future plans they have for JCPS.
    Thanks Dr. Renfrow, JCPS staff, JC BOE, CHHS administrators, staff and coaches for all you do for the Corinth Holders community.