North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed House Bill 91 Tuesday, a bill that will require changes to the way high school sports are administered in North Carolina.
Beginning next school year, any non-profit organization administering high school athletics for public schools in North Carolina must sign a memorandum of understanding with the State Board of Education and meet all criteria required by the board. That will include the NC High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA).
HB 91 gives authority to the State Board of Education to enter into an agreement with a non-profit organization to run high school sports under a set of rules and regulations over which the Board of Education will have authority.
Under the new law, the State Board of Education will set the rules for eligibility, gameplay, health & safety, appeals, administration, fees, and other items. The board may delegate many of the rule-making requirements to a non-profit, but the they can override any rule the non-profit adopts with a simple majority vote.
The memorandum of understanding will be for no longer than four years, meaning it will have to be renewed.
Earlier versions of the bill sought more drastic changes to high school sports, including the possibility of dissolving the NCHSAA all together.
Bobby Wilkins, President of the NCHSAA and principal at Hendersonville High School issued a statement on the revised edition of HB 91:
"Back in the summer, a group of legislators introduced a version of House Bill
91 that would have prevented North Carolina high schools from continuing to participate in athletic competition organized by the NCHSAA to the detriment of our state’s student-athletes. Since the bill was introduced, and through multiple rounds of revisions, has continued to believe that the legislation was unnecessary; but we remain committed to negotiating a memorandum of understanding with the State Board of Education that will support and promote the development of high school athletics in our state in a positive manner."