July 1 changes governance of North Carolina’s public high school sports



(The Center Square) – A new law that takes effect Monday gives the North Carolina State Board of Education increased oversight over the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

Senate Bill 452 “builds upon a similar law that was enacted a few years ago,” Blair Rhoades, spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Instruction, told The Center Square.

“In short, the NCHSAA must now follow rules adopted by the State Board of Education on issues such as student eligibility, student health, safety requirements and fees charged to member schools,” Rhoades said. “The NCHSAA still adopts rules related to conference organization, game play rules, and penalties, and it will continue to operate as a nonprofit membership organization.”

The bill also expands the right to appeal decisions by the athletic association, Rhoades said.

“The public most likely won’t see many changes in the day-to-day operations of the NCHSAA or athletics generally,” Rhoades said. “There will just be more oversight and less flexibility for the NCHSAA to change its rules without going through the State Board of Education.”

Que Tucker, commissioner of the high school association, did not respond to a request for comment on the legislation. However, Tucker expressed concern after the bill passed last year.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper declined to sign the legislation but did not veto it, allowing it to become law.

“The late-night changes to high school sports governance are a solution in search of a problem,” the governor said in a statement. “Legislators shouldn’t insert politics into schools and sports but instead allow the bipartisan compromise approved last session to continue so students can compete fairly with the support they need.”

The N.C. Athletic Directors Association also expressed support for the NCHSAA after the legislation was passed, saying it was the proper organization to manage high school sports in North Carolina.

Its statement said, “The NCHSAA comprises superintendents, principals, athletic directors, and coaches at member schools. These individuals are the most qualified to determine who should represent their interests regarding the governance and regulation of education-based interscholastic high school athletics, not the State Superintendent or the Board of Education members.”

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