COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) — A panel of state lawmakers is considering changes to the
the current landscape of high school athletics in South Carolina.
A newly formed Ad-Hoc Committee is mulling over a series of bills aimed at
addressing some of the concerns regarding high school sports. Some of the bills
are focused on fair play.
Monday morning, the commissioner of the SC High School League spoke to the
committee. The organization, governed by its 200+ member schools,
oversees interscholastic athletic programs for high schools in the state.
Commissioner Dr. Jerome Singleton said one of the challenges the league is
currently facing is a lack of competitive balance. Dr. Singleton told lawmakers
nontraditional schools, including private and charter instructions, have
dominated state championships across various sports in the lower classification
Dr. Singleton said a proviso included in this year’s state budget prevents the
league from doing anything to address this right now. He said, “That kind of
puts us a little in a bind because to be able to create the level playing field,
we have to have the authority to address them as we see fit.”
The proviso, “guarantees that private or charter schools are afforded the same
rights and privileges that are enjoyed by all other members of the association,
body, or entity.”
Ad-Hoc Chairlady Rep. Shannon Erickson (R-Beaufort) doesn’t believe the provision
prevents the league from addressing this issue.
Some lawmakers have suggested overhauling the existing system entirely, while
some are advocating for classification changes for schools based on their
Rep. Erickson emphasized that the goal is to ensure fairness for all students.
She stated that lawmakers have a multitude of bills to choose from, but the
overarching objective remains to provide students with an equal opportunity to
participate in sports.
According to Erickson, they hope to have recommendations or possibly a bill by
the time the legislative session begins in January.