Leaders and supports of the N.C. High School Athletic Association gave a passionate defense of the organization Tuesday night in the wake of proposed legislation that would remove the organization from oversight and management of high school sports in North Carolina.
NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker told a media conference call that the proposed legislation is a “full-scale attack on the ability and desire of the NCHSAA member schools to govern their own affairs as it relates to high school athletics, education-based athletics.”
Tucker added that the legislation would not benefit student-athletes in North Carolina “If those are under the threat of legislative takeover, it cannot be in the best interest of our students,” she said.
Tucker said having a board appointed by the legislature and the governor would unwisely bring politics into high school athletics.
The N.C. Coaches Association and the High School Athletic Directors Association expressed support for the organization.
“We have fully supported the NCHSAA for 49 years and continue to support it today,” said Roy Turner, president of the Athletic Directors Association, who added that his organization supports the NCHSAA “leadership, policies, procedures, and position statements.” “We know that there’s politics, … but in this situation, politics and athletics should not meet.”
“I watched the actions of our General Assembly this afternoon, and it hurt me. It really did,” said NCHSAA Past President Jerry Simmons, principal at New Bern High School. “Everyone involved with the NCHSAA wants what’s best for student-athletes, and the proposal to dismantle the organization is not it.”
“The very best thing that can happen right now is a partnership between the NCHSAA and the state school board versus anything that would look to dissolve what has been in place for over a century,” said Simmons.
Rob Jackson, superintendent of Carteret County Schools and vice president of the NCHSAA Board of Directors, said a one-year transition period to an entirely new organization that does not yet exist would be difficult if not impossible to implement and is unrealistic.
“That is a lot of work that would cause lots of change for our schools. One of the impacts that would be felt immediately would be the impact of all that change,” Jackson said.
“I believe what we have done over the last 109 years has worked, and I believe it can continue to work, so I don’t think there is a need to dismantle it,” Tucker stated in closing the press conference.