The National Federation of State High School Associations opposes a proposal (HB 1279) intended to diminish and eventually replace the Florida High School Athletic Association (FSHAA) as the governing nonprofit for public school athletics.
“We have not seen anything like what the Florida Legislature has proposed,” said federation Executive Director Bob Gardner during a teleconference on Thursday. “There are frequently bills filed in some states, but not to throw the baby out with the bath water so to speak, but perhaps to influence or look at some aspect of the rules. Nothing of this magnitude.”
Gardner said the concerns extend beyond the bill’s proposal that limits investigations by the FHSAA.
The bill initially increases the number of appointments by Tallahassee lawmakers to the FHSAA Board of Directors, along with making the executive director an appointee of the state commissioner of education. Currently, the board makes the appointment. Eventually, legislators would also be required to designate a new organization to replace the FHSAA as the governing nonprofit for public schools athletics. If no replacement is named by July 1, 2017, the commissioner of education would name an interim outfit.
Supporters say the changes are necessary to protect parents and students, while continuing to prohibit recruiting.
The measure follows a law enacted a year ago that allows students-athletes to change schools at any time without having to sit out a year, as the prior rule required after the first 20 days of a school year.
The latest proposal is expected to be heard on the House floor next week, said Rep. Larry Metz, R-Yalaha, the sponsor of the bill.