High school sports: Commentary

Legislative power play not good for sports

January 21, 2013 

THE SOUTH Carolina High School League gets annual criticism for executive committee decisions.

But the heat is turned up and the SCHSL has been targeted by the state as three bills have been introduced to the education committee in the state Senate and House and, if passed, could deliver a death sentance to the governing body of state high school sports.

On Dec. 18, three bills were prefiled by legislators targeting the SCHSL. All three were referred to the education committee.

The following are summaries of each bill with web links:

S.128 — This bill would in effect dissolve the SCHSL as an entity and place control of the member schools’ athletic programs under the State Department of Education.

http://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess120_2013-2014/bills/128.htm

H.3131 — This bill would allow the state Superintendent of Education to overturn decisions made by the SCHSL’s Executive Committee or the delegates of the SCHSL’s legislative assembly.

http://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess120_2013-2014/bills/3131.htm

H.3082 — This bill would replace the organizational structure of the SCHSL by placing the responsibility and control of interscholastic athletics under the state Superintendent of Education. It also replaces the SCHSL’s legislative delegates and executive committee members with an advisory board appointed by the State Superintent of Education.

http://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess120_2013-2014/bills/3082.htm

The process is that these bills will be reviewed by the education committee of both the House and Senate. If approved, they would be be introduced to the General Assembly.

I don’t see these actions, if these bills are passed, a good thing for high school sports. While I have led the pack in being critical of certain decisions or operating procedures by the SCHSL, I also think they do some things very well and when they do, I tell them so.

Do I think there is a need for changes in the way the League does things? Absolutely. I would like to see some means other than the current Executive Committee to oversee the judgement of rules violations and the enforcement of the penalties.

Perhaps an outside arbritration board of state business leaders, as well as civic-active parents.

I don’t know what the solutions is, but there are enough smart people who care about this that if we put our heads together, we could probably come up with some pretty good ideas.

I don’t necessarily have all of the good ideas to toss onto the table. But I do know a bad one when I see it. And putting the control of interscholastic athletics, including your district’s athletic programs, under the jurisdiction of an entity that can’t protect Social Security numbers from computer hackers is a bad idea.

If you agree, I suggest you get in touch with your district superintendent’s office and get them on the ball. They, and maybe you, need to call the legislative representatives who are members of the education committee, as well as your local representative.

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