NCHSAA Reform Bill Gets One Step Closer to Adoption

September 1, 2021 / Athletic Administration
The North Carolina House bill that aims to reform the state’s high school athletic association, NCHSAA, hit the Senate floor on Wednesday.

If the bill is signed into law, the majority of the legislation would go into effect on October 15, provided the NCHSAA agrees to become a vendor of the State Board of Education, according to a report from the Winston-Salem Journal.

nchsaaDuring a meeting on Tuesday, co-sponsor of the bill Vickie Sawyer said the association, as it’s currently operating, is doing a disservice to athletic programs statewide with its oversight policies, including the way it handles money and the way it deals with violations of rules and by-laws without what she considers due process.

Sawyer’s comments come despite NCHSAA membership is voluntary for school athletic programs, and its 427 members vote on those policies and by-laws, the Winston-Salem Journal reported.

The NCHSAA did not have a representative at Tuesday’s committee meeting after having commissioner Que Tucker and other NCHSAA staff speak at a meeting last week. The Journal reported sponsors of the bill received pushback at the earlier meeting from coaches, athletic directors, and school administrators during the brief public comment period.

The opposers claimed the bill is overstating, if not exaggerating, the number of constituents they have heard from. A report from recently showed a survey of the 427 athletic directors, 230 of whom responded. The results showed 86.1% of respondents said they opposed the bill while 5.2% supported it.

In the latest version of HB91 are the ways the bill would take into consideration the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to high school academics and athletics — and are considered very controversial to opposers of the bill.

For example, for the 2021-22 school year, “students would not be required to meet academic requirements for participation, and would be eligible for hardship waivers for age eligibility requirements.”

The speakers cited the possibility of 19- and 20-year-olds playing against 14-year-olds, opening the door for more recruitment of athletes by magnet and charter schools, and allowing students to play even with failing grades.

To read the full report from the Winston-Salem Journal on the NCHSAA, click here