N.C. governor signs bill to reform regulation of North Carolina high school sports
The bill would allow the North Carolina State Board of Education to designate a nonprofit organization that would administer and enforce state law and rules for high school athletics.
RALEIGH, N.C. (WBTV) - Governor Roy Cooper has signed a bill into law that will reform the regulation of high school sports in North Carolina.
House Bill 91, named Accountability and Fair Play in Athletics, will provide a new governing structure for high school athletics intended to emphasize the needs of athletes.
The bill would allow the North Carolina State Board of Education to designate a nonprofit organization that would administer and enforce state law and rules for high school athletics. The State Board of Education would have the ability to delegate some authority to that organization.
Any organization governing high school athletics for public schools in North Carolina will be required to sign a memorandum of understanding with the State Board of Education. That organization would also have to meet all criteria required by the board.
That would include the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA).
The version of the bill that was signed into law is different from a previous version introduced in the summer that would have essentially eliminated the NCHSAA.
Since the bill was revised, the NCHSAA has provided a statement about the bill.
“The State Board of Education has assured the NCHSAA that it will work with the Association to reach a memorandum of understanding with the NCHSAA. Considering the changes to the legislation, and assurances that the State Board of Education will partner with the NCHSAA so that we can continue to serve our member schools, the Board of Directors of the NCHSAA does not oppose the passage of House Bill 91 as revised,” part of the statement read.
Under the newly-signed bill, the State Board of Education will adopt rules governing student participation, health and safety, appeals, the administering organization, and reporting.
The State Board of Education will also have the ability to delegate the authority to establish rules for penalties, administration (including division and conference classifications, coaching, officiation, sportsmanship, and scheduling), gameplay, and fees.
House Bill 91 also requires the State Board of Education to establish an independent appeals board. The nonprofit administering organization will be required to have an independent audit done annually.
The bill first surfaced after lawmakers questioned NCHSAA leaders about the nonprofit’s authority and its large financial assets.
“The NCHSAA remains committed to negotiating a memorandum of understanding with the State Board of Education that will support and promote the development of high school athletics in our state in a positive manner,” Bobby Wilkins, President of the NCHSAA Board of Directors, wrote.
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