High School Sports

Executive Committee gets OK to shape plan

In a special meeting Thursday at the S.C. High School League office, the League's Legislative Assembly gave its approval of the process used to set the 2010-12 realignment, which is still pending.

Pelion athletics director Ben Freeman's motion, which carried 27-4, gave the Executive Committee authority to modify the league staff's realignment proposal.

The 32-delegate body was convened in order to clarify a decision made during its annual meeting in March, in which the group authorized the league staff, led by commissioner Jerome Singleton, to perform the bi-annual classification and region assignments for its 200 member schools.

In July, the staff presented a proposal to the Executive Committee for approval, a step that was outlined in Singleton's May 21 letter to members regarding the process.

During the July meeting, the committee met in a closed session and made changes to the proposal before approving it. Lawyers representing Chapin High, one of nine schools appealing their assignments in the approved plan, challenged the committee's authority to change the staff's proposal, and pointed out that the meeting should have been open to the public according to laws governing public organizations.

Delegate Thomas Ezell, principal at Chesnee High, asserted that while the league staff is impartial, the Executive Committee has representatives from several schools and can be biased, so it should not be a party to the realignment assignments.

Others disagreed.

"These are people like us, as far as I'm concerned, and they are going to try to make decisions for the good of the entire group," said Wren principal Robbie Binnicker in support of the current process.

Singleton said he felt the session was productive.

"Given all the information, they make sound, wise decisions," he said. "Ultimately, it's their organization. The Legislative Assembly determines what we are going to do."

Now, the Executive Committee will meet again to discuss and approve-or modify and approve - the League staff's original plan, this time in open session. Then, the process will continue with the appeals hearings, which have been postponed twice.

Dates for those meetings will be set in the coming weeks, Singleton said.