Rep. Kyle South drafts oversight legislation in wake of Maori Davenport-AHSAA controversy

[Photo Credit: AP Photo]

Fayette-Republican, State Rep. Kyle South has drafted legislation that would provide government oversight over the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA).

South drafted the bill in response to a controversial decision by the AHSAA regarding the eligibility of Charles Henderson High School basketball standout Maori Davenport.

AHSAA ruled Davenport ineligible for amateur status, which is necessary to play high school sports in Alabama, because of a clerical oversight associated with her play on the Team USA basketball team.  Davenport had self-reported the oversight, and immediate actions were taken to rectify the situation.

South said the bill will be pre-filed for consideration in the 2019 regular session, and, currently, 87 of the 105 members of the Alabama House have already signed on as co-sponsors.

“Rather than taking special circumstances into consideration and impartially considering the facts at hand, the Alabama High School Athletic Association has created an unnecessary national controversy and callously ruled in a manner that adversely affects an innocent young woman’s eligibility,” South said.  “Time and time again, the AHSAA has engaged in behavior and ruled in a manner that clearly calls for more oversight of its actions.  Considering the AHSAA receives a majority of its funds from taxpayer-funded public schools and the athletic activities of public school students, there is ample justification for government oversight of its operations.”

Under the provision’s of South’s legislation:

  • The State Board of Education would be required to review and approve any rules relating to student participation and eligibility before being adopted by AHSAA.
  • Would require 25 percent of the AHSAA governing members to be appointed by the state superintendent of education or the state board of education.
  • Would require the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts to audit AHSAA in the same manner as a state agency in Alabama.