State lawmakers may have the final say on how high school sports are governed because of a one-year measure added to next year’s budget.
Senator Larry Grooms added the amendment to the appropriations bill that officially passed the Senate this week.
“Friends and foes of the South Carolina High School League agree that changes need to be made. They had overstepped their bounds, I believe, so that’s also the belief of other folks taking a look at this. We had a situation with Goose Creek High School where they were robbed of their ability for a post-season play. It was a tragedy. Something like this should not have happened,” says Grooms.
Grooms said the league’s leadership had to be dragged to the bargaining table on this.
Last year, top-seeded Goose Creek High School lost its place in the state championships for reporting an ineligible third-string player. Under this new legislation there would be new levels of sanctions and Goose Creek would only have paid a $500 fine.
Union Representative Mike Anthony, a former high school league member and coach agrees.
“The body themselves changed that and the constitution at the meeting in March saying ok now we’re going to have a tier of punishment for these kinds of things. And he’s exactly right. If it had been todays law that we were putting in, along with what the body did, then they would have been fined $500 and saved the playoffs,” said Anthony.
An independent appeals panel will be created to hear grievances and serve as the final word when it comes to disputes.
Representative Anthony says legislation will probably pass the House: “I think we will accept it over here. They (the Senate) took out some things where parents and coaches could not appeal and I think that’s the same thing the high school league has now. It has to be a superintendent or a principal that can appeal a case. So, I think that’s a positive.”
“A proviso is certainly a one-year test. But I do believe that there may be renewed agreement to move forward with stand-alone legislation and let’s be done with this issue,” said Grooms.
The budget is back in the House and will likely go to a joint committee for compromise.