We’ve known changes were coming how the South Carolina High School League operates for a while and now we are getting a clearer picture as to just what those changes will entail. State Senator Larry Grooms added an amendment to the budget that includes everything from guaranteeing private and charter schools get the same rights as public institutions, to adding a seven member panel to hear appeals after the SCHL has made a ruling.
The SCHL took a lot of heat for how it handled the Goose Creek football team ruling last year. Initially some lawmakers wanted to take away all power from the SCHL and turn it over to the Department of Education. That proposal was tabled after the SCHL made it clear it was willing to accept some changes. Nothing is final yet, but it appears these are the changes that could be coming down. This is a proviso which means this rules would only apply for one year. Here is the full context of Grooms’ amendment:
1.86. (SDE: Interscholastic Athletic Association Dues) A public school district supported by state funds shall not use any funds or permit any school within the district to use any funds to join, affiliate with, pay dues or fees to, or in any way financially support any interscholastic athletic association, body, or entity unless the constitution, rules, or policies of the association, body, or entity contain the following:
(1) a range of sanctions that may be applied to a student, coach, team, or program and that takes into account factors such as the seriousness, frequency, and other relevant factors when there is a violation of the constitution, bylaws, rules, or other governing provisions of the association, body, or entity;
(2) (a) guarantees that private or charter schools are afforded the same rights and privileges that are enjoyed by all other members of the association, body, or entity. A private or charter school may not be expelled from or have its membership unreasonably withheld by the association, body, or entity or restricted in its ability to participate in interscholastic athletics including, but not limited to, state playoffs or championships based solely on its status as a private school or charter school. The association, body, or entity shall set reasonable standards for private or charter school admission. A private or charter school denied membership must be provided, in writing within five business days, the reason or reasons for rejection of its application for membership;
(b) guarantees that a South Carolina home school athletic team that is a member of a home school athletic association may not be denied access to preseason and regular season interscholastic athletics including, but not limited to, jamborees and invitational tournaments, based solely on its status as a home school athletic team; other rules or policies of the association, body, or entity would apply;
(3) (a) an appeals process in which appeals of the association, body, or entity are made to a disinterested third-body appellate panel which consists of seven members who serve four year terms, with one person appointed by the delegation of each congressional district;
(b) a member of the panel serves until his successor is appointed and qualifies. A vacancy on the panel is filled in the manner of the original appointment;
(c) members of the appellate panel do not concurrently serve as officers of the association, body, or entity and may not have served as a member of the executive committee within the last three years. Principals and superintendents are able to appeal a ruling of the association, body, or entity to the panel. The appellate panel also must provide the final ruling in any appeal brought against a decision of the association, body, or entity;
(4) a procedure in place for emergency appeals to be held and decided upon in an expedited manner if the normal appellate process would prohibit the participation of a student, team, program, or school in an athletic event, to include practices;
(5) provisions, implemented within one year after the effective date of this section, that require the composition of the executive committee of the association, body, or entity be geographically representative of this State.
In the event an association, body, or entity fails to include one of the items listed in this proviso, public school districts and schools must end their affiliation with the association, body, or entity prior to the beginning of the upcoming school year and are prohibited from paying dues or fees to the association, body, or entity.