This summer, North Carolina state legislatures introduced a bill that would strip power from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) and place high school athletics under the control of a state commission.
The commission proposed in House Bill 91 would have had the responsibility to enforce eligibility, game rules and conference realignment for all North Carolina public schools, namely excluding private schools. The commission would have been composed of 17-members, including superintendents, principals, athletic directors or certain coaches — with nine members selected by the governor and eight by the General Assembly.
This bill was met with intense discussion, as it had the potential to upend the governing body of high school sports in the state.
Following a revision, North Carolina lawmakers got it right. There are two major factors in this decision: money and politics. Both issues were appropriately addressed, allowing for high school athletics to flourish in the future.
The original bill stemmed after Republican state legislatures questioned the $42 million in assets the NCHSAA held as of June 2020. The money the NCHSAA held onto is unacceptable.
This sum comes during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when many high school athletic departments are struggling to balance their budgets. Meanwhile, in the midst of the challenging year, the NCHSAA maintained membership fees and levied fines against the school for eligibility violations.
Eligibility violations — in the middle of a pandemic.
Further, in this year's North Carolina high school baseball championships, the chosen host sites were Burlington Athletic Stadium, a former minor league stadium, and J.P. Riddle Stadium, a current community college field in Fayetteville. State-of-the-art minor league stadiums went unused.
These are sub-par baseball facilities that the NCHSAA allowed for their state championships to be held at, a switch from venues at UNC-System schools such as UNC-Greensboro. The decision to play at a second-rate stadium while sitting on $42 million is inexcusable.