Kansas Bill Aims To Give Parents More Power In Governing Sports

February 19, 2013 / Swimming
Lawrence Journal-World


In what has become an annual ritual at the Kansas Statehouse, lawmakers again this year will consider bills that would overturn certain rules on high school athletic competition and revamp the board that supervises school competitions.

This year, however, critics of the Kansas State High School Activities Association have ramped up their public relations campaign by releasing a YouTube video that explains why they think parents – as opposed to teachers, coaches and school officials – should have more say in governing high school competition.

“The current board is a bit antiquated for our state,” said Margaret Bonicelli of Overland Park, who appears in the video. “Other states are light years ahead of us, and we haven’t made changes to our board in many, many, many years.”

The video is aimed at drumming up support for H.B. 2197. That bill would revamp the governing boards of all interscholastic leagues in Kansas, making sure that community members who aren’t educators make up half of each league’s governing board. It would also give non-educators at least four out of 14 seats on an expanded KSHSAA executive board.

Another bill, H.B. 2307, would extend to cheerleading the same special exemption lawmakers approved two years ago for swimming. It would lift the KSHSAA ban on participating on high school and private athletic club teams at the same time.

Supporters say parents of student-athletes should have more say in how competitions are governed – competitions that can be the key to students earning scholarships and qualifying for Division I college athletics.

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