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.
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.