Titans Pair with MNPS on Major Investment to Benefit High School Sports

Nashville’s Mayor John Cooper  this week announced via  a press release, “Every Metro Nashville Public High School (MNPS) athletic program will receive a new sports field, an initiative made possible through an innovative partnership with the Tennessee Titans and The Foundation for Athletics in Nashville Schools, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to endow athletic programming at MNPS schools.”

Cooper goes on to outline a deal that will provide approximately $1 million each to 15 of Nashville’s high schools, approximately $15 million in total, to upgrade game facilities by converting existing grass fields to artificial turf. The money will not arrive in one lump sum but be spaced out for delivery over the next five years. Only a third of the $15 million will come from the Titans.

Mayor Cooper is proposing that one-third of the money will come from the city via forthcoming capital spending plans. The remaining third will be funded through private donors’ contributions to The Foundation for Athletics in Nashville Schools, Inc., a nonprofit also known as The Fans Inc.

Tax records show that The Fans Inc. was incorporated in 2012. The latest records available show the principal officer as Don Mark North. North, a long-term MNPS employee and former school board member. also serves as the athletic director for MNPS. Prior to becoming athletic director, he served as the director of government relations for Metro Nashville Public Schools.

The Tennessean reports:

“Donations are being accepted through the site wearethefans.org, a site dedicated to promotion, funding, and raising awareness toward Metro Nashville Public Schools. It was created by Mark North, who resigned from the site when he was named MNPS athletics director.”

The 2020 tax record for Fans Inc. shows it closed the year out with $11.841 in assets, which is consistent with previous years.

In addition to North, listed board members include:

  • David Fox
  • David Sturdivan
  • Scott Wallace
  • Howard Gentry
  • Chip Sullivan

Over the past five years, several MNPS high schools have had fields renovated, including Overton, Glencliff, and the newly built James Lawson High School. Mayor Cooper’s announcement gives no insight into the parameters around how the $1 million can be used by individual schools.

The capital needs fund is the same fund that MNPS annually applies to fund school buildings’ improvements. During the latest budgetary session, Metro Schools applied for $639 million to upgrade district facilities and was awarded roughly $400 million. While this is a significant improvement over the last several years, it still fails to meet all of the needs of the district for improving schools.

The commitment to converting fields to artificial turf comes at a time when the NFL players union is raising questions about the safety of artificial turf. Team owners disagree with the assertions put forth by the players union, but research fails to back up their argument. The Tennessee Titans play on natural grass.

The Titans are currently engaged in soliciting support for the plans for a new stadium, with cost being a central issue. The Nashville Chamber of Commerce recently announced its support, while Metro Council members accuse the mayor of lying about numbers.

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TC Weber is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. He also writes the blog Dad Gone Wild. Follow TC on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected] He’s the proud parent of two public school children and the spouse of a public school teacher.




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2 Thoughts to “Titans Pair with MNPS on Major Investment to Benefit High School Sports”

  1. Cannoneertwo

    Wouldn’t a better title be “Titans Butter Up Taxpayers in Hopes of Gaining Stadium Approval”?

  2. Cannoneertwo

    How much money is The Chamber going to fork over to keep the Titans happy?