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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida lawmakers to revisit rules for high school sports governance



Despite repeated failed attempts, Florida lawmakers are again prepared to try to limit the powers of the Florida High School Athletic Association, making it easier for students and schools to participate in interscholastic sports.

A bill (HB 31) already has landed in the House, proposing to let schools join FHSAA on a per-sport basis and limiting sanctions against those that compete outside the association.

The Senate Education Committee, meanwhile, has scheduled its Oct. 7 meeting to discuss the sole topic of high school sports. Chairman John Legg, who has not supported efforts to overhaul the rules in the past, said a growing number of senators want to have the discussion.

Last year, lawmakers considered bills that would have loosened restrictions on student-athlete transfers, in addition to easing the FHSAA's grip over schools' participation in different sports. HB 7137 made it through the House, but got stymied in the Senate along with SB 948 and SB 1480, which also took aim at the FHSAA's powers and responsibilities.

The measures didn't have much support among coaches and athletic directors, whose lobbying efforts helped stall the proposals. It was not the first time such efforts took place.

Similar attempts to revamp the FHSAA took place in 2013 and 2012, as well. The arguments have shaped up along the school choice and student rights lines, amid concerns about how recruiting would affect fairness and competition.

This year's debate should bring more of the same. Look for more bills to come soon.

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 9:57am]


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