The McClymonds High boys basketball team will not need the funds raised and donated by parents and players at Monte Vista High after all.
The Oakland Unified School District, citing a "lack of communication internally," says it has the funds and will cover the expenses for McClymonds to travel to Sacramento to play in Saturday's 8 p.m. California Interscholastic Federation Division I state title game against Westchester-Los Angeles at Arco Arena.
School district spokesman Troy Flint said that the district and Oakland Athletic League commissioner Michael Moore Sr. were unaware that Mack was looking to spend the night in Sacramento to play in the title game. Last year, when the Warriors won their first official state title in school history with a 73-54 win over Dominguez-Compton, the team traveled to and from Sacramento on the day of the game and that the district "figured the status quo was fine."
In a story in Tuesday's newspapers, Mack coach Brandon Brooks said he was "broke" after spending money out of his own pocket all season to cover team expenses and that there was no money available to accommodate a hotel stay in Sacramento. Within hours, parents, coaches and players at Danville's Monte Vista — the team the Warriors beat 46-43 in Saturday's NorCal Division I championship game to end the Mustangs' season — had raised $1,100 to present to Mack.
As it turns out, district officials said they had planned to cover at least the cost of hotel rooms all along, but Moore said that Brooks "didn't have any way of knowing we were going to pay for it" because standard practice has typically been for coaches to seek money from donations to cover expenses for trips such as state title games.
Brooks could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.
"We feel bad that there was this misunderstanding," Flint said. "(McClymonds) has generated a lot of good publicity for the district the last couple of years, and we appreciate that. We're definitely paying for their accommodations and hope that they come home with the title."
Moore said the decision to cover all the cost was decided late Wednesday, and Thursday it was decided to return all donations — including those received from Monte Vista.
While it is not accepting the donated money, the district wanted to thank those who contributed.
"We'd like to reiterate our appreciation," Flint said. "We don't want to diminish what they did. I know this makes for an awkward situation, but it was still a great gesture."
Monte Vista coach Bill Powers said that he is happy to see that the team will at least receive the accommodations it was seeking.
"The bottom line is that they got what they needed," Powers said. "The gesture was done with good faith and good spirit."
Still, he was surprised to hear the money was coming back.
"I don't know what high school sports program is in a position to say 'No, thank you' to money, ours included," he said.
"That's what's sort of surprising."
Reach Jimmy Durkin at email@example.com.