FOX Sports Southwest 7-on-7 Tournament Brings Big Business

By: Nicole Morten Email
By: Nicole Morten Email

“It's intense, I mean, real intense,” described Justin Weatherley, a Varsity football player and senior at Glen Rose High School.

It's what's expected this time of year; especially when 128 football teams, including their friends and family from across the state, claim turf in College Station.

"Football is my life, and me I’ve been coming here for the last three years,” Weatherley added.

Justin Weatherly and his team of Tigers at Glen Rose High School are bringing the heat in the 7-on-7 state tournament.

“The main thing is to get and play at Kyle Field and play in the state game,” said Weatherley. “But we're really here to have fun too.”

A&M has hosted the Fox Sports Southwest 7-on-7 Texas State Championship on its practice fields every year since 1998. It brings more to the field than a good game of football.

“We’re looking at 15,000 people walking in and out of Penburthy for the next three days,” said Kindra Fry, director of sales at the Convention and Visitors Bureau. “They're [visitors] eating in our restaurants, going to our gas stations, going shopping, staying in our hotels and then getting gas to go back home and the money that these people are spending , sales tax wise, is going to keep our property tax down as a community.”

The event is free for spectators and the term "free" goes a long way inside the gates at Penburthy. Players are outfitted with more than $500 worth of free football gear.

"They used to give us just bags and shirts, they're giving us jersey's, cleats, shorts, jersey's, backpacks, rubber bands, everything,” said Weatherley.

The only thing left of course, Weatherley says is the bragging rights after his team brings home the state title.

"You can look forward to Glen Rose winning, I know that's for sure,” Weatherley said.

Since Texas A&M joined the Southeastern Conference, this could be the last year the tournament comes to Texas A&M.

The S-E-C granted a one-time waiver for the long-time host because 7-on-7 tournaments are restricted from being held on conference campuses. A petition has been filed to move it to Veterans Park in order to keep the event in our area. The event has to move from campus because of a new NCAA rule that prohibits 7-on-7 games from being played at colleges.

"We have made a presentation to the state board of keeping it here and with Veteran's Park, it would be phenomenal and with the tournament, they have to have all of the games in one central location,” said Fry.

The board will review the presentation and make a decision by next July.

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