Relationship between the 2 bodies is considered very strained
By CHRIS HOBBS
RALEIGH — The first head-to-head clash between the N.C. Legislature and North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) over a specific decision developed Wednesday.
After the NCHSAA board of directors voted 18-0 to allow the state’s student-athletes to participate in an NIL (Name, Image and Likeness) program effective on July 1, a state bill (636) was amended to say the NCHSAA overstepped its authority on that NIL vote.
Under what the NCHSAA passed, student-athletes would be able to enter into endorsement or other deals for payment. That follows similar programs established for NCAA student-athletes, though the revenue at the college level can be in the million for some stars.
The reported average for an NIL deal for high schools athletes — North Carolina would become the 28th state to allow NILs — is $60 to $120.
The NCHSAA vote came with indications of the types of things student-athletes could not align themselves with, like tobacco or adult entertainment businesses, and has requirements about educating the student-athlete, NCHSAA staff, school personnel, coaches and parents about NILs.
If a student-athlete violated part of the process, they would be subject to a 60-day suspension. They also would not be allowed to align themselves and what they choose to do with their high school, etc.
But if the state bill eventually passes — it did 30-20 in the N.C. Senate on Wednesday and now goes to the N.C. House — the program will never get started in North Carolina.
State Republicans who are the primary sponsors of 636 say Wednesday’s board decision is outside the authority the NCHSAA now has under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) the association signed with the State Board of Education.
Had an MOU not been reached, another state bill would have disbanded the NCHSAA and the State Board of Education would have been instructed to find another organization to monitor prep sports in the state.
The MOU developed after strained relationships between the state legislators and the NCHSAA staff during and after an investigation into several concerns by legislators about how the NCHSAA operates.
Sources have told HobbsDailyReport.com that relations between some legislators and NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker are particularly at odds. Those sources described Tucker as very standoffish and uncooperative in several meetings and said that has added strain to the relationships.
When Tucker told HighSchoolOT she felt racism and gender (https://hobbsdailyreport.com/north-carolina-high-school-athletic-association/nchsaa-commissioner-questions-why-others-in-her-position-werent-scrutinized/) were a part of the motivation of investigations of the NCHSAA — she questioned why there were none under the organization’s past bosses, all white — and that did not settle well with some of the legislators, the sources said.
At one point after that some legislators began to privately say if a coming election vote gave Republicans a super majority — and it did in the state Senate — the government branch would “be back” to push for additional changes (or closure) of the NCHSAA.
The MOU signed is for a four-year period but speculation has already surfaced that state legislators might encourage the State Board of Education to voluntarily ended the agreement much earlier.
There are also other bills that have NCHSAA-related focuses, including one about the organization and open meetings laws.
Until the air clears around all the legislative action, it’s unclear what the overall status of the NCHSAA might be when the next school year begins. It could range from no changes to the MOU remaining in effect to an NCHSAA with a drastically changed landscape.
The MOU has already stripped the NCHSAA of its previous power of fining and enforcing rules, collecting gates monies and limiting uses of The Endowment Fund. At one point, the endowment has a balance of at least $26 million and a report that the NCHSAA had $41 million in assets first drew the attention of state legislators.
RALEIGH NEWS AND OBSERVER STORY: https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article275007566.html