Subcommittee with subpoena power will lead inquiry
By CHRIS HOBBS
RALEIGH — A subcommittee of the N.C. Legislature decided on Tuesday it will investigate the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA).
A subcommittee will de appointed and the probe includes reviewing the NCHSAA’s finances.
Several recent media reports indicate the NCHSAA, primarily through its endowment fund, has assets of at least $40 million and those have doubled in the last 10 years.
The NCHSAA has more money that similar entities in other states, Sen. Vickie Sawyer, R-Iredell, told The Raleigh News and Observer.
The subcommittee will oversee the probe and has the power to subpoena NCHSAA leadership.
Que Tucker, commissioner of the NCHSAA, has accepted an invitation to meet with legislatures on Thursday in Raleigh.
A bill has also been filed by Sawyer and other Senate Republicans that would required, if passed, that the NCHSAA be audited by the Office of State Auditor.
The NCHSAA is set up as a nonprofit organization with a board of directors that votes on its policies and for expenditure of assets. The board consists of high school principals, athletic directors and superintendents.
The NCHSAA staff follows the instruction of the board and its vote, but day-to-day operations and decisions are left to Tucker and staff.
As a nonprofit organization, the NCHSAA says it is not subject to open meetings laws or required to release to the general public or media any specific information about any of its actions.
For instance, if a member school violates a rule or policy set by the board of directors the NCHSAA currently will not confirm the violation or the specific rule or policy violated, telling media to contact the school or schools involved for details and/or comment.
A situation that developed regarding that is one factor that possibly led to the N.C. Legislature taking a look at the NCHSAA.
When Anson County High was ruled to have exceeded the allowable number of players ejected in its 2019 football game with Richmond County — thus being eliminated from earning a state playoff bid — the NCHSAA notified Anson County of that news.
But when Anson County officials reportedly failed to notify the community of the decision until just prior to the state playoffs — weeks after the NCHSAA had told the school it would not be eligible for the postseason — it caused an uproar in Anson County.
FULL STATEMENT ON DECISION FROM TUCKER
As released on Wednesday by the NCHSAA:
“The NCHSAA Board of Directors and Staff has always served it member high schools, and we will continue representing their interests to the General Assembly relative to the direction of education-based athletics in our state.
“The NCHSAA has cooperated with the requests made by the North Carolina General Assembly and will continue to do so because the Association has nothing to hide.
“We are more than willing to educate the governmental leaders of our state about the mission, vision and values of the Association, including the purpose and origins of the NCHSAA Endowment.
“Through the leadership of the NCHSAA Board of Directors, who are nominated by their peers to represent the membership, the NCHSAA has provided nearly $13 million in support to our member schools in the last eight years through the Endowment and fiscal responsibility of the staff who manages the annual budget.
“At its December 2020 winter meeting, the Board of Directors approved four (4) million dollars of Board designated Endowment funds to be paid in two installments to member schools. The intent was to assist athletic programs in offering sports in a year when COVID-19 created financial difficulties resulting from government policies preventing and/or reducing spectator attendance at high school athletic events.
“The NCHSAA has an outstanding track record of serving its member schools and is audited annually by a third-party CPA Firm, without incidents. That audit report is made available to Board Members each year at the Winter Meeting and is available upon request for any principal of a member school, who, upon request, is also able to view the NCHSAA Budget and Monthly Statement of revenues and expenditures. Staff and Board Members remind the membership of these opportunities annually during regional meetings, when the operating budget for the upcoming year is presented.
“If legislators are truly willing to listen, we welcome the opportunity for our state’s legislators to learn the truth about how the Association and its member schools impact our students and communities of this state.”
MORE ON THE PROBE: https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article250634219.html
ONE POINT OF VIEW ON THE ISSUE: https://www.cityviewnc.com/state-legislators-should-back-off-trying-to-run-nchsaa/