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January 19, 2013

General Assembly Bills Target SCSL

The South Carolina High School League takes a lot of heat from critics each year from unpopular decisions by their executive committee. But the heat is being turned up and the SCHSL has been targeted by the state government as three bills have been introduced to the education committee in the SC Senate and House and, if passed, could deliver a death sentance to the current governing body of SC High School sports.

On December 18th, three bills were pre-filed state legislators targeting the operation of the SCHSL. All three were referred to the education committee. Below is a summary of each bill; I've placed the online link to these bills so you may view the entire document.

  • H.3082 - This bill wo uld replace the organizational structure of the SCHSL by placing the responsibility and control of interscholastic athletics under the jurisdiction of 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
These are drastic measures and while many people around the state would love to see the SCHSL Executive Committee squirm, I don't see these bills, if passed, a good thing for high school sports in South Carolina. While I have led the pack in being critical of certain decisions or operating procedures by the SCHSL in the past, I also think that they do some things very well and when they do, I tell them so.

I had a sideline conversation with Jerome Singleton at the Weekend of Champions and we talked briefly about the Goose Creek situation that had just ended. I felt like, while the first hearing did not follow guidelines set forth by their own by-laws, that the ultimate decision that was finally reached was the right decision and I told Mr. Singelton so.

Now, I didn't just fall off of the turnip truck. I know that I am not on any Christmas lists of anyone from the SCHSL or Executive Committee. I also know that when the Weekend of Champions had a color analyst get sick and they were scrambling for a replacement the day before, I was called by someone involved in the broadcasts. I really did not want to do it but told them I would to help them out of the jam. I had to cancel a tailgate party with some friends and make arrangements for coverage of the games, only to receive word the next morning that they "had it covered." I know for a fact that when those in charge of the broadcasts had conversations with league representatives that they were told "no" in reference to "Jim Baxter" replacing the analyst. When the individual who had made the call to me told a broadcast representative of the SCHSL that I was going to fill in, the representative said, "Jim Baxter? That's going to be a problem." I tell you this for two reasons. One, I want the SCHSL to know that I know how they feel about me. Two, I want YOU to know that despite the obvious distain that members of this entity may have for me, that I still feel that these bills, if passed, will be a bad thing for interscholastic sports in South Carolina. In short, I support the SCHSL on this.

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 penatlies. Perhaps an outside arbritration board of community business leaders from around the state, as well as civic-active parents who have demonstrated strong efforts in volunteer status in the school districts around the state. 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 know all of the good ideas. But I do know a bad one when I see it. And putting the control of interscholastic athletics, including your own district's athletic programs under the jurisdiction of an entity that can't even protect our social security numbers and banking information from computer hackers when there are ways to do it is a bad idea.

If you agree with me, 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. Below are the Education Committee member of the General Assembly; to get contact information on them visit http://www.scstatehouse.gov/index.php , click on either House or Senate and then click "Members" to get their contact information.



McNair, Pierce, Dir. of Res.
Lybrand, Julie, Research Asst.
Fulmer, Richard P., Staff Counsel
Wilson, D'Juana B., Exec. Secy.


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