Annual Meeting – Every School’s Chance for Involvement!

September 19, 2011 Athletic Department Blog Updates

This is a great time of year. In all areas of the state, school has started. The Friday night lights are lit up, the fields and courts are in use every night (and seems like 24 hours in some areas and schools). But then reality sets in, and its time to deal with some of the “business issues” surrounding the KHSAA. And a lot of that business is accomplished through the Annual Meeting. Truth be told, other than the championship final events and recognition ceremonies, this event is one of my favorites. Our staff gets to sit down and meet with those people in the trenches at the local schools, and talk about issues facing both groups. Our philosophies and perspectives are different, so too naturally are our opinions.

I wanted to take some time with this particular blog, to talk about the proposals that will be voted on by the membership. This two-part article will attempt to first lay the groundwork for the last few years, and then secondarily, it will discuss in a little more detail, each of the twelve proposals to be considered at the KHSAA Annual Meeting on Thursday. The Board of Control is required, per Section 3 of 702 KAR 7:065, to review the rules of the KHSAA and recommend any changes to the membership. As Commissioner, many of these initiatives come from me, and are thoroughly reviewed by the Board over a series of about six months worth of meetings and discussions. While it would be nice to have the luxury of leaving the rules alone for a length of time, such is simply not possible. And certainly this is not the time for us to fight long and hard to maintain the 1985 status quo. That would certainly not be in everyone’s best interest.

 It is very difficult in one or two lines of rationale, to fully describe the hours and days of thought and discussion that goes on among the membership, among the Board of Control and among the staff, before a proposal actually makes it to the agenda. And this year’s agenda is further complicated by a few proposals that were the product of a legislative review of the Association and its eligibility rules, that was done by the Legislative Research Commissioner (Program Review Committee) in Frankfort.

The vast majority of the legislature, truth be told, would rather deal with the more serious issues they fight every day in Frankfort than to get involve with athletics. Success and achievement in the General Assembly many times turns on compromise, while most in athletics feel there has to be a winner and a loser. These two diverse schools of thought mean that sometimes, everyone won’t agree. Such was the case in the mid-2000s, when the membership of the KHSAA discussed various proposals which would have either 1) segregsated its championships based on school types, or 2) controlled the eligibility of high school students based on the type of middle school the student attended. To say that neither of these options were looked upon favorably by the General Assembly members would be a tremendous understatement.

While those troubled waters have calmed for now, this started the Association and its member schools down a path wherein everything about the daily operations (including the eligibility rules) was subject to increased scrutiny. In 2007. the Kentucky Department of Education commissioned a study of the Association, its operations and its means of determining student eligibility. That Commission recommended, among other things, that the Association retool its Due Process Procedure, and streamline the process for a variety of reasons. That Commission report, when considered by the Board of Control, was quickly implemented, and has allowed for much more expedient responses to various inquiries and requests for rulings.

But along the way, other groups and interested advocates became involved. Right after the release of the report, the KHSAA recieved word that the KHSAA would be one of the approximately five agencies per year that receive a “program review”. While there may have been a variety of reasons for the request, the research was done and several recommendations were made to change KHSAA rules. The tone and tenor of all of the recommended changes has been to be more “kid friendly”.

The majority of the changes were in three areas. First, revisions to the Due Process Procedure (though many of these changes were already in process by action of the Board of Control). Since that was in process, the committee concluded with three primary recommendations.

Recommendation number 1 was to add exceptions to the KHSAA transfer rule. Based on a student of other states, the committee felt that the KHSAA rule was likely outdated and too restrictive. So several changes were discussed and recommended to the Board of Control. These documents are public record.

In the end, due to the report from Program Review, the Board placed proposals 3, 4 and 5 on this year’s agenda. 

In addition, the KHSAA staff has been working in close concert with the Kentucky Department of Education and local district Assessment Coordinators as we head toward the state mandated changes in public school testing, including the ramifications of end of course testing. If every school in the Commonwealth were on the same school schedule, this implementation wouldn’t be complicated. However, since our structure is set up for each school to implement its own calendar, it makes standardization very difficult. 

This is the reason for the proposed changes in the spring season start in tennis, baseball and softball. Right now, no one knows the impact of testing. In some districts, teams are going to be told they cannot hold competition during testing dates (which likely will occur at key times right before or during postseason). If extra dates are not available for play, it simply won’t be possible to get in all of the games that are allowed.

In the next segment, I will share with you background on the specific proposals on this year’s agenda.