Board discusses companion bills in regard to SIAA, FCIS and FAANS unified in opposition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 30, 2012

GAINESVILLE– The Florida High School Athletic Association's Board of Directors met Monday morning and discussed companion bills proposed to the Florida Legislature that could change the operation of high school athletics in the state of Florida. House Bill 1403 and Senate Bill 1704 aim to have the Sunshine Independent Athletic Association (SIAA) become the "governing nonprofit organization of athletics in private schools" in Florida, effective July 1, 2012. The Board expressed their views and during the discussion, Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS) Executive Director and Florida Association of Academic Nonpublic Schools (FAANS) Treasurer Dr. Barbara Hodges chimed in, declaring that both organizations she is involved with are strongly unified in their opposition of the proposed legislation.

"The FCIS represents 157 schools in this state," Hodges said. "All these bills were brought to the attention of the directors. They read through that bill with a focus on Senate Bill 1704. After reading through that bill, they determined it was not in the best interest of the students at our schools. They took a vote and the vote was 17-0 opposing the Senate Bill 1704 for various reasons. One, we believe it will become a hardship for private schools to be put into one association. We fought long and hard to have an association, the Florida High School Athletic Association, that represents all schools, public and private. We believe that if we are forced into a private high school association, it will create all types of issues. It will a problem financially, create more travel. We will end up having to take time away from academics which our schools are based upon, in order to travel to these other types of competitions.

"Our standards and bylaws are opposed to recruiting," Hodges continued. "The mission of the school is based on educating students and athletics are just one portion of that full education. Both bills have been brought before FAANS. There was a vote and it was 25-0. Nobody supports the Senate Bill or the House Bill. We are very unified in our opposition to these particular bills and we are working very closely with legislators to actually defeat these particular bills."

Concern was also conveyed in regard to the SIAA not being affiliated with the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS). Since the FHSAA is a member of the NFHS, its member schools can only compete against schools who comply with NFHS regulations. Additionally, the viability of competing against schools governed by a different set of rules was a topic of debate.

"The discussion from the Board members, which are made up of both public and private school athletic directors and administrators, as well as the unanimous votes taken by both FAANS and the FCIS show a magnificent stride that's been made in the FHSAA in making all public and private schools feel like equal partners in this Association," Executive Director Roger Dearing said. "I think that was exhibited today in the Board meeting and as we go forward on trying to educate the legislators about what these bills are really about and the detriment it could cause to our member schools and student-athletes, hopefully wisdom will prevail on what's best for all kids, public schools, private schools, charter schools and home schools."

 

In other action, the Board of Directors:

  • Approved the FHSAA's financial statements for the period ending November 30, 2011
  • Approved the FHSAA Land Corporation financial statements for the period ending November 2011
  • Discussed FHSAA Land Corporation annual audit for the 2010-11 fiscal year
  • Shared the results from the 2012 Representative Assembly, including individual votes and the language to be added to the 2012-13 FHSAA Handbook

 

About the FHSAA
The Florida High School Athletic Association is the governing body for interscholastic athletics in Florida. It has a membership of more than 770 middle and senior high schools, and sponsors postseason competitions to determine the official state high school champions in 30 different sports. The 16-member FHSAA Board of Directors is the executive authority of the Association.

Contact for media:

Corey Sobers
Public Relations Specialist, FHSAA
(352) 372-9551 x 350
csobers [at] fhsaa [dot] org