Legislature seeking greater control over HS sports association

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The News Service of Florida reported on opposition to HB 1279, the bill that would diminish the autonomy of the Florida High School Athletic Association as the governing nonprofit for public school athletics and would eventually replace it altogether with another entity.

The National Federation of State High School Associations opposes the measure, saying that they have never seen anything like what Florida proposes here: increasing the number of legislative appointments to the Board of Directors and making the executive director a public appointee rather than at the selection of the Board.  The measure further requires legislators to designate a new organization to replace the FHSAA by July 2017, and if this fails to happen, the commissioner of education would name an interim replacement.  Supporters believe that these changes will protect students and their parents while continuing to prohibit recruiting.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Larry Metz, has been unanimously approved by all reference committees and is currently Temporarily Postponed on Second Reading on the House Floor.  Its Senate companion bill, SB 1164 sponsored by Sen. Kelli Stargel, has not yet been heard in either of its two committee stops.