Burns to Study School Activities Association – Okemah News Leader


Burns to study the association of school activities

OKLAHOMA CITY — Rep. Ty Burns, R-Pawnee, will lead an interim study this fall before the House Common Education Committee investigating the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association (OSSAA). The date of the study has not yet been set.

Burns said he will study OSSAA’s finances and discrepancies in the organization’s policies relating to student-athlete transfers and eligibility that he says favor better-off students.

“During my tenure, many constituents came to me with concerns that OSSAA and its board of directors had become more biased over time,” Burns said. “The concern is the potential harm this could cause to our student-athletes who, for a number of reasons, may wish to change schools but continue to play the sports they love and plan to pursue after high school. .”

Burns said that currently, if a student-athlete transfers to a school district outside of their place of residence, that student must take a year off before they are eligible to compete in their sport of choice. This takes away an entire year of experience from students who already have a very limited play window.

Burns said the concerns he’s heard relate to OSSAA Handbook Rule 8 and Title 70. OSSAA Rule 8 deals with establishing and maintaining athletic eligibility. Title 70 of the Oklahoma State Statutes pertains to schools.

This year, Burns presented House Bill 3968, which would have allowed students transferring during summer vacation to a school district outside of their current place of residence to retain their eligibility to participate in sports. Current rules require students to be away for one year unless OSSAA grants them a hardship waiver. The bill would also allow transfer students who are dependents of serving uniformed military personnel to be exempt from the one-year waiting period. If the student transfers during the academic year, or more than once, eligibility will be determined by OSSAA. The bill would not have changed current recruiting rules and would have allowed superintendents to remain the deciding factor in whether or not to approve a student’s transfer.

The bill did not receive enough votes to pass the House Common Education Committee and did not advance. This triggered the request for study.

Kevin Sain, of the law firm Sain, PC, also commented on the OSSAA policy.

“OSSAA is failing Oklahoma families and children,” Sain said. The rules need to be changed to ensure a fair and just transfer system. The reasons why children change schools vary, but are rarely related to sports. However, OSSAA treats each transfer as if it were. In doing so, OSSAA has created an unfair system in which students from wealthy families or urban areas benefit, while students from low-income families or rural farming communities are disadvantaged.

Sain explained that a child from an affluent family can transfer schools for any reason and still be eligible to compete in athletics because OSSAA allows children to be eligible immediately after a good move. faith if the family sells their home and moves to the school district of their choice. Children from families of modest means cannot afford similar moves, he said.

Sain will share other inequalities in the system during the study.

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