HB 91 Heading For Full Senate, Then Probably House Vote, With Major Changes In NCHSAA | Sports
RALEIGH – The amended version of House Bill 91, which seeks to reform the NC High School Athletic Association rather than disband it, continues to progress.
The Senate gave its initial approval to HB 91 on Wednesday, but it still has to pass a full vote this week before going to the House. If passed in the House, it will go to Governor Roy Cooper for his signature or veto.
HB 91 left the Senate Rules and Operation Committee on Tuesday.
The legislation states that the association will have to accept financial and administrative changes if it is to continue in its role.
The measure asks the NCHSAA and the State Board of Education to reach a written agreement by mid-October on how the association will implement the board’s policy on interschool sports.
Senate Republicans, previously in favor of eliminating and replacing the NCHSAA, seek to keep it in place, but add constraints on its finances and demand more transparency in its decision-making activities.
The nonprofit is nearly 108 years old and oversees more than 20 varsity sports in nearly 430 member schools.
According to an Associated Press report, NCHSAA leaders have been looked down upon by Republican lawmakers, who say they have heard voters complain about what they see as the association’s strong hand on gambling calls and eligibility and financial penalties on schools, even if the group’s coffers are empty. .
The association, which started in 1913 and became an independent nonprofit in 2010, had nearly $ 42 million in assets last year.
“I am here as the voice of North Carolinians who are afraid to stand up for themselves,” Senator Vickie Sawyer, Iredell County Republican and mover of the bill, said before the chamber voted 32-14 for the measure.
A bill approved last month by the Senate Education Committee would have dissolved the NCHSAA at the end of the 2021-2022 school year and created a new state sports commission with its members chosen by the governor and leaders legislative.
The measure was changed, after complaints from Democrats and association allies that it would inject partisanship into high school sports and effectively end the NCHSAA.
The new bill emphasizes transparency.
The NCHSAA would be required to post the proposed changes to the playing and penalty rules on its website and allow public comment, and apply and enforce the rules set by the Board of Education, which would have the power to consider any rule proposed by the NCHSAA inapplicable.
It would also require the association to comply with open records and open meeting laws and apply federal standards of confidentiality to student records, adopt an internal ethics policy that “(would require) board members to administration avoid conflicts of interest and the appearance of impropriety, ”and submit to an annual audit by the state auditor of North Carolina.
Finances are also at the center of the legislation.
The NCHSAA would be prohibited from charging unreasonable fees and would be required to reduce the annual fees of member schools by at least 20% if the association’s fund balance reached 250% of its previous year’s expenditure, and to withhold more than 33% of the net proceeds from all state tournaments.
It would also be prohibited to solicit grants or sponsorships for anything other than state tournaments, and to regulate or control the intellectual property of schools, including team logos, mascots, and audio or video. games outside of state tournaments, and designate preferred suppliers from which member schools can purchase equipment.
Sponsors of the bill have previously said they have heard schools say they cannot afford the costs of equipment from the association’s preferred vendors.
The legislation also deals with the classification of schools in the association.
This would allow charter and non-public schools to continue participating in the NCHSAA, but these athletic programs would increase rankings.
All classifications would be determined based solely on registrations. The bill states that four classifications would be used, which NCHSAA members have attempted to change in recent years as the number of member schools continues to grow.