Last year, the Times published a five-part series, "High School Sports: The Challenges Ahead." Here is how the Florida High School Activities Association has addressed each issue since Bob Hughes came on board:
OPEN ENROLLMENT/RECRUITING: Because of various programs that give students greater school choice, the FHSAA's hands are largely tied when it comes to governing transfers unless it can prove recruiting. To that end, Hughes plans to hire a compliance director who will take charge of investigations.
GENDER EQUITY: The board of directors spent considerable time debating the addition of new girls sports but ended up adopting none. It has, however, eliminated the bylaw that required at least 30 percent participation of member schools before a sport can be part of the FHSAA's state championship series. They hope this encourages school districts to add girls sports on their own.
ACADEMICS: The FHSAA lobbied for a change in the 2.0 rule that would allow students to remain eligible for athletic competition without a cumulative 2.0 GPA until their junior year. The rationale is that if a student has trouble adjusting to high school, falls below a 2.0 as a freshman and is ineligible to play from that point on, it might be detrimental. The Florida House passed the bill, but it got bogged down in the Senate with an addendum. Hughes said the FHSAA will push for the change again during the next session.
PAYING FOR ATHLETICS: The FHSAA adopted several changes in the amounts it receives for preseason classics and post-season playoffs, hoping to help schools pay for their programs. The FHSAA projects the changes will reduce its revenue by more than $70,000 for the next school year.
POLISHING THE FHSAA IMAGE: In addition to reducing the amount of money it takes from schools, Hughes has been visible, attending coaches meetings, legislative sessions and attending meetings of the state associations of athletic directors, superintendents and principals. Hughes also met last spring with the NCAA in Kansas City to learn more about its investigative procedures for recruiting violations. He has increased the FHSAA staff and is currently revamping the organizational structure of the association to be more service-oriented toward its member schools.
_ ANTONYA ENGLISH, MIKE STEPHENSON