Bill that would give state legislature even
more control has not yet gone to House vote
By CHRIS HOBBS
RALEIGH — In an ongoing effort to settle stormy waters circling the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA), the organization’s leader spoke briefly on Tuesday at a hearing about a new bill moving through the North Carolina legislature that would further change the NCHSAA.
Que Tucker, the NCHSAA’s commissioner, was limited to two minutes in the public comments portion of the hearing before a House committee.
Her comments were live streamed by High School OT (see link below), which has led reporting on State Bill 636 and many of the issues surrounding the NCHSAA.
Tucker voiced her belief in and support of the NCHSAA — where she has been an employee for 32 years — and said many of the questions about the organization can be answered but not in two minutes.
She did not request a meeting between legislators and the NCHSAA in her comments but said she would welcome an opportunity to provide answers to specifics about the organization and how she runs it as a commissioner working for a board of directors that sets all NCHSAA policies.
That set up basically has not changed but now involves a Memo of Understanding (MOU) with the State Board of Education, effective in July 2022. The NCHSAA was required to sign a MOU after a bill changing many aspects of how the organization functioned became law (HB91, see link below).
Senator Vickie Sawyer (R–Iredell, Mecklenburg) — one of the three sponsors of HB91 and the current bill (636) — said the new bill’s intent is to add additional oversight (and other particulars) that should have been in the MOU.
That MOU was for four years, but the new bill would open an option for the state superintendent to end the MOU via six months notice and then seek another organization to oversee high school athletics in the state.
One of the key topics in 636 is to make the NCHSAA subject to the state’s open meetings laws.
Sawyer said legislators are seeking more transparency from the NCHSAA — and not just about the organization’s finances (in the hearing it was estimated the NCHSAA has $36 million in assets).
In general, SB 363 would diminish how much control the NCHSAA, its board of directors and the 432 member schools have. By its own bylaws (prior to the MOU), the NCHSAA was self-governed with minimal (if at all) oversight by any state officials.
SB 363 outlines the state superintendent having more input/oversight over how high school sports are governed and by whom.
STATE BILL 636: https://legiscan.com/NC/text/S636/id/2799138