RALEIGH, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The North Carolina State House will soon decide the future of a bill that would strip the N.C. Athletic Association of its power to regulate high school sports.   

The School Athletic Transparency bill — Senate Bill 636 — is 10 pages long and packed with controversial topics like name, image and likeness deals and transgender sports. It has already passed the Senate.   

If passed, the bill would remove authority from the NCHSAA and give it to the state Board of Education.  

The NCHSAA is a nonprofit with a 24-member Board of Directors made up school and athletic administrators statewide. The group makes the official rule books and standards for high school sports. Que Tucker is the commissioner that carries out the regulations and policies set forth by the board.  

“NCHSAA is about the business of providing education-based athletics,” Tucker said. “We’re trying to provide teachable moments for our young people who participate in our programs, because we know that one day they will graduate, and they will step out as citizens.”   

A group of 20 Republican senators sponsored Senate Bill 636 that would change who regulates public school sports. Seven of the senators live in the Queen City News viewing area; all of them ignored or denied our request for an interview for this story. Current law already allows the Board of Education to override the NCHSAA. 

However, a four-year deal for the NCHSAA to operate the state’ high school athletics went into effect last summer. 

“We haven’t even completed the first year of having operated under the Memorandum of Understanding,” Tucker said.  

Sen. Vicki Sawyer of Iredell County expressed her concern over the NCHSAA approval last week of its name, image and likeness policy. She tweeted: 

“The @NCHSAA continues to overreach their authority and infringe on the rights of parents & students. They have no right to tell my family who owns my child’s image & likeness. That’s why I filed SB 636, to provide transparency in HS athletics.”  

Tucker says no state lawmakers have reached out to express concerns prior to introducing the legislation back in April.  

“It is believed that it’s overreach by our Board of Directors to want to provide some structure,” Tucker said. “I just want to be sure that everybody understands, this policy is not designed to allow student athletes to get paid to play for a school. It’s designed to give some structure to give some guidance.” 

The bill also gives the state Board of Education the authority to decide if transgender athletes can play sports. NCHSAA already has a committee that reviews those requests on a case-by-case basis.  

“It’s not about us trying to be power-grabbers,” Tucker said. “We’re not trying to be rich; we’re not trying to do anything that is not public.” 

The school athletic transparency bill passed the Senate. The House Rules Committee will review it and decide if or when it should head to the floor for a vote. The NIL policy approved by the NCHSAA was set to go into effect July 1.  

“To be perfectly honest, student-athletes right now can go out and make deals, even though this policy is not in effect, because your name your image, your likeness is yours,” Tucker said. “We wanted to protect that. We’ve been very public in trying to say we want to help protect our students.”