Wednesday, February 13, 2013
The South Carolina High School League’s stunning decision to end Goose Creek High School’s football season three months ago may be coming back to haunt the 100-year-old organization.
A bill by two local legislators that would effectively dismantle the organization and place it under the direction of the South Carolina Superintendent of Education has advanced out of a S.C. House subcommittee. The bill next goes to the House Education and Public Works Committee on its way to a possible vote on the House floor.
Rep. Joe Daning of Goose Creek has proposed the legislation, and Rep. Bill Crosby is its co-sponsor.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s going to pass,” Crosby said. “(The SCHSL) will be restructured under the Superintendent of Education.”
The restructuring would in essence create a new organization to serve as the sole governing body of the state’s public high schools. The organization would have a 13-member rules committee that would hear appeals and cases. A director of the organization would be picked by the Superintendent of Education.
A similar bill has been introduced in the South Carolina Senate.
Daning and Crosby said they were outraged at the SCHSL’s treatment of GCHS at the end of the 2012 football season.
Crosby said the SCHSL, in its present form, does not “have the interest of the child when making decisions … they are not thinking about the child. That is what happened in Goose Creek.”
Daning said that after the SCHSL recently rejected proposed changes, he felt it was time to take action. “I’ve been hearing for years about the High School League,” he said.
In January, the SCHSL ignored proposals by the Berkeley County School District by voting not to recommend a pair of rule changes that would ensure balanced geographic representation on the executive committee. The league’s current constitution makes allowances for gender and ethnic representation through three at-large selections on the executive committee.
The other amendment proposed by the district would define different levels of violations, aimed at softening punishments for those schools who self report a paperwork error or gain no competitive advantage through a rules violation.
The amendments to the SCHSL constitution could still move forward but that is unlikely; proposals not recommended by the committee usually are not adopted.
In regards to the GCHS situation, Daning said the SCHSL “took one child, and punished 70 kids on the football team and the whole community. And I’ve got a stack of cases like that.”
Daning said the bill is scheduled to go to the full House Education and Public Works Committee on Feb. 19. “Hopefully we’ll get it out of full committee and to the floor for debate,” the Republican legislator said.
Goose Creek High School football coach Chuck Reedy is in total support of the bill.
“I think that we need change,” Reedy said. “There are a lot of people that are scared of change but the system we have doesn’t work. We need new leadership.
“The league is so ingrained in the way they do things, I don’t think you can make the changes needed by working from within. Every time somebody has tried to do that, they’ve fought it.”
Goose Creek High School Principal Jimmy Huskey is a member of the SCHSL’s current 18-member executive committee. He is the lone Lowcountry representative on the committee.
“The legislature is trying to get the High School League to do some things differently,” Huskey said. “There are some pretty big issues.”
The Gators’ season was ended in the playoffs when the school discovered a potential eligibility issue involving a special needs student. The player in question participated in 17 plays all season and never entered a game Goose Creek led by less than 40 points.