Two Cents from the Franklin Mint: No Place for Politics. By Jon Franklin

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Updated: August 1, 2021

In previous editions, I have called the North Carolina High School Athletic Association a “bloated mess” because of playoff snafus, engorged playoff brackets, and odd selection procedures. But never have I ever called for its abolition. Yet, a group of state legislators are making a concerted effort to overhaul high school athletics by abolishing the NCHSAA. 

Back in the fall of 2019, Senator Tom McInnis who represents sections of Anson, Moore, Richmond, and Scotland counties, began to investigate the inner workings of the Association following an altercation between the Richmond Senior Raiders and the Anson County Bearcats during their non-conference football game in August 2019. The situation resulted in numerous Anson County players being ejected because they were involved in the fracas or left the bench area. Per NCHSAA rules, this led to the disqualification of the Bearcats from the state football playoffs despite winning their conference. 

Anson County did not file an appeal and thus, the case was closed by the NCHSAA. However, that did not stop the senator as he begin to probe into the Association’s financial statements. Since then, this bureaucrat has led the charge to eliminate the Association through House Bill 91 which passed the NC Senate’s committee on education by voice vote. As fate would have it, Sen. McInnis is a member of said committee.

As of the publishing of this article, HB 91 now awaits consideration from the NC Senate Finance committee before moving forwards in the legislative process. Should this bill become law, a 17-member commission would be created to run high school athletics. Nine members would be appointed by the governor, four members selected by the NC House, and four members chose by the NC Senate. These members would be staffed by full-time educational employees.

As the NCHSAA is currently a private, non-profit entity, a new high school athletics commission would be under the direction of the NC Department of Administration.

Ok……Let me get this straight, a bleeding-heart politician got his jockey shorts in a wad over a situation that was created by the students. They had to pay the piper because of their actions and this didn’t settle well to him. When Sen. McInnis talked to NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker about the revisiting the Anson County incident and the Commish said no, the Senator developed a big-time grudge.

Ladies and Gentlemen, when a person holding a political office goes on a tangent, advocating for a special interest within their constituency, and leads a charge for change without having a clue on how to execute the change – that my friends, is the reason for President Ronald Reagan’s epic statement from his 1981 inaugural address:

“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.”

I watched the hour-long video on HighSchoolOT.com and listened to politicians say that dissolving the NCHSAA is for “clarity and transparency”. What a load of malarkey. It seems that the state government wants is another governmental agency, create higher taxes, and to create more of a dependence of government. There’s no telling on how much taxpayer dollars this whole crusade has cost hard working North Carolinians.

For 108 years, the NCHSAA has been the organization that has been the authority on operating high school athletics. They have developed policy and procedures on how to effectively run athletic programs and to provide opportunities to student-athletes to play the sports they enjoy. Since 1990, the Association created an endowment fund to attain the financial security for each public high school in North Carolina for years to come. 

I guess Sen. McInnis didn’t get the memo that over the past 30 years, millions of dollars have been distributed throughout the member school that ensures every student-athlete has the ability to play a sport they so choose. If this bill becomes law and knowing how government works, that money will somehow find a way to line the pockets of the politicians and will defund the schools – the recipients in which the money was collected for in the first place. 

But now, due to a politician’s gripe, all of this might be a thing of the past. It’s just another reason as to why politics has no place in any sport.

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