Who we are
Everyone agrees that the youth of Florida deserve the best possible education.
The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) is committed to this ideal, and to the belief that a quality education does not begin or end in the classroom.
For over 90 years, the FHSAA – through the cooperative efforts of its member schools – has provided opportunities for high school students in Florida to participate on a fair and equitable basis in interscholastic athletic programs that produce vital educational benefits.
The FHSAA sponsors 3,396 championship series games through which 139 teams, and 294 individuals are crowned state champions in 32 sports each year. Over 2,000 student athletes each year experience winning a championship. Through participation in these athletic programs, nearly 800,000 students annually are extended opportunities to receive lessons in leadership, sportsmanship and citizenship.
The Florida High School Athletic Association . . . building leaders through teamwork, sportsmanship and citizenship.
A Non-Profit 501c(3) Private Corporation, the Florida High School Athletic Association was founded on April 9, 1920 by a group of 29 high school principals who met at Peabody Hall on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville.
The Florida Legislature, in 1997, gave the FHSAA statutory recognition as the official governing body for interscholastic athletics in Florida.
The FHSAA has shown a steady growth in membership throughout its history. Currently, the FHSAA has a total of almost 800 member schools.
The aim of the FHSAA is to promote, direct, supervise and regulate interscholastic athletic programs in which high school students, whose schools are members, compete. To accomplish this aim, the Association:
- Establishes and enforces regulations to ensure that all such athletic programs are part of, and contribute towards, the entire educational program;
- Cooperates closely with the Florida Department of Education in the development of athletic programs;
- Promotes the spirit of sportsmanship and fair play in all athletic contests; and
- Enacts policies and guidelines that safeguard the physical, mental and moral welfare of high school students, and protect them from exploitation.
The citizens of Florida have long recognized and endorsed the role of the FHSAA – a non-profit, voluntary organization – in providing supervision, control and promotion of the interscholastic athletic programs in which students engage.
To ensure fair and equitable competition, as well as to encourage acceptable progress in the classroom, the FHSAA enforces eligibility regulations that have been adopted by its member schools, or enacted into law by the Florida Legislature.
These regulations establish standards with regard to attendance, academic status, age, years of participation, transfers, physical fitness, sportsmanship and amateurism. While the FHSAA is obligated to enforce these rules without favor or exception, the bylaws do provide a procedure by which students who are unduly hardshipped by the regulations may seek relief by requesting that their school file an appeal on their behalf. If a person deems any existing rule undesirable, that individual has the opportunity to generate change through the local high school representative or the Association’s Public Liaison Advisory Committee. Each may propose to repeal or reword the rule and have that person’s change submitted to a vote of the Association’s Representative Assembly.
Any public or private school in Florida, recognized by the Florida Department of Education, may become a member of the FHSAA by completing a membership application on which it agrees to adopt and abide by the FHSAA Bylaws, as well as all regulations and policies established by the Association’s Board of Directors.
The Association accomplishes its aims and serves its member schools through the following administrative structure:
- The 16-member Board of Directors, which meets five times annually, determines FHSAA policy, provides guidelines for the entire program sponsored by the FHSAA, employs an Executive Director and staff to administer the programs of the FHSAA, and serves as a final court of appeal in all matters that come before it.
- The 60-plus member Representative Assembly meets annually to consider proposed changes to the Association’s bylaws.
- A seven-member Sectional Appeals Committee meets nine times annually in each of the Association’s four administrative sections to hear undue hardship eligibility cases, which are filed by member schools on behalf of student-athletes, and other requests for waivers of rules or appeals of decisions by the Executive Director filed by member schools themselves. All unfavorable decisions by the Sectional Appeals Committees may be appealed to the Board of Directors.
- Advisory Committees representating athletic directors, contest officials and coaches in each sanctioned sport in which the FHSAA conducts state championship series competition meet annually to review all regulations pertaining to them and to make recommendations to the Board of Directors for changes to those regulations for the upcoming season. A Sports Medicine Advisory Committee is composed of physicians and athletic trainers, and functions as a resource relative to issues of health and safety in athletics. The Public Liaison Advisory Committee acts as a conduit through which members of the general public may access the decision-making process of the Association.
- The Executive Director, the Association’s chief executive officer, manages the daily operations of the FHSAA, enforces its rules, and supervises a 29-member office staff in Gainesville that administers the Association’s programs.
The FHSAA is an organization created to serve its member schools. The FHSAA’s list of services has grown considerably in its 90-plus year history and includes:
Athletic Programs – The FHSAA offers postseason State Series competition through which the official state champions in 16 boys sports and 16 girls sports are determined. The State Series are conducted during the school year as follows: Fall – Boys & Girls Bowling, Boys & Girls Cross Country, Football, Boys & Girls Golf, Boys & Girls Swimming & Diving and Girls Volleyball; Winter – Boys & Girls Basketball, Competitive Cheerleading, Boys & Girls Soccer, Girls Weightlifting and Wrestling; and Spring – Baseball, Girls Flag Football, Boys & Girls Lacrosse, Girls Softball, Boys & Girls Tennis, Boys & Girls Track & Field, Adapted Boys & Girls Track & Field, Boys Volleyball, Boys & Girls Water Polo, and Boys Weightlifting.
Contest Officials – All contest officials are independent contractors who are members of local officials associations sanctioned by the FHSAA. Currently, more than 8,000 officials are registered with the FHSAA and receive support, training and evaluation in order to provide game officiating services to all high schools and FHSAA State Series events.
Communication – The FHSAA Office maintains a clear channel of communication between member schools, the news media and the general public through numerous direct mailings, annual publications, “FHSAA.org”, the official web site of the FHSAA (www.fhsaa.org).
Recognition Programs – The FHSAA conducts several programs through which schools, student-athletes, adminstrators, coaches, officials and other individuals are recognized.
- The Florida High School Athletic Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving the tradition of interscholastic athletics in Florida by highlighting the past in order to ensure a promising future for the Association and its member schools. Each year, administrators, coaches, officials and others who have made lasting contributions to the Association are inducted into the Hall of Fame.
- The FHSAA Academic All-State Awards Program honors 24 student-athletes who have achieved excellence, both on the field and in the classroom, throughout their high school careers. Two of the Academic All-State Team members are selected the FHSAA Male and Female Scholar Athletes of the Year.
- The FHSAA Academic Team Champion Program recognizes teams in each of the Association’s 30 sports, naming an Academic Team Champion in each classification, based on the team’s cumulative grade point average.
- The Sportsmanship Awards Program recognizes the one school in each of the Association’s eight classifications whose athletic program best exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship by its coaches, athletes and spectators.
- The Sunshine Cup All-Sports Awards Program recognizes schools in 11 administrative classifications whose total athletic programs have excelled above all others within their classifications in all FHSAA state championship series tournaments and meets throughout the school year.
Important Notice Regarding FHSAA.org
FHSAA.org is designed and maintained by the FHSAA Communications Department. All material contained herein copyright by the Florida High School Athletic Association. Use of this web site implies understanding of all legal notices and disclaimers.
For web site-specific questions or comments (to report broken links, potential typographical errors, etc.), e-mail web [at] fhsaa [dot] org.
Need more information? Click here for the FHSAA Staff page.