Call to Order and Roll Call
The5th meeting of the Task Force on Middle School Interscholastic Athletics was held on Monday, November 26, 2012, at 1:00 PM, in Room 129 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Carl Rollins II, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Mike Wilson, Co-Chair; Representative Carl Rollins II, Co-Chair; Senator Joe Bowen, Representatives Tom Burch and Keith Hall; Kevin Brown, Adam Lantman, Barry Lee, Elizabeth Miles, Wilson Sears, Dan Seum, Jr., Julian Tackett, and Dan Volpe.
Guests: Jack Givens and Representative Horlander, among others.
Approval of the Minutes from October 15, 2012, Meeting
Upon motion made by Representative Hall and second by Senator Bowen, the minutes of the October 15, 2012, meeting was approved by voice vote, without objection.
Discussion of Draft of Report of the Task Force on Interscholastic Athletics at the Middle School Level
Chair Rollins noted that comments and suggestions were received from Greg Mitchell and that he and Co-Chair Wilson had reviewed those suggestions and made minor changes not contained in the report before the task force. Chair Rollins then opened the floor for discussion of changes to the report and its policy considerations. He said that a cover page and final summary will be added along with additional action from today, and that the final draft would be approved by himself and Co-Chair Wilson.
Senator Wilson said a suggestion made by Mr. Mitchell was discussed. It was important to include the suggestion in the final report that the General Assembly could consider amending the statutes, and that this was one of the changes made as alluded to by Chair Rollins. Any member of the General Assembly in reviewing these task force policy considerations could file legislation. Chair Rollins indicated that the language that would be included in the final report regarding this suggestion would be “that the General Assembly could consider limited provisions to KRS 156.070 to clarify responsibility of high school interscholastic athletics from middle and elementary interscholastic athletics except to the extent a middle school student participates on a high school team.” Chair Rollins stated that the value of the task force’s work and the report is that each legislator will receive a copy of the report and any legislator may choose to propose legislation.
In response to a comment by Representative Burch regarding academic eligibility, Chair Rollins indicated that academic eligibility standards are set at the local school board level. Representative Burch said that his purpose in raising this issue was that many college athletes never graduate since there are no requirements that they have passing grades. He said that the legislature needs to do something in that particular area so that athletics have to maintain an academic standing. Chair Rollins indicated that every local district of which he was aware has standards that may vary from district to district and further that the NCAA has strict standards that an athlete attend a certain number of course credit hour classes and maintain a certain grade point average although there are schools where students leave early to be professional athletes.
Mr. Sears asked whether it could be assumed that the State Board of Education would act on these policy considerations right away and be in place by the 2013-2014 school year. Chair Rollins indicated that he hoped the board would address the considerations. Mr. Brown indicated that the Board of Education would be briefed on the policy considerations at its next meeting and anticipated that they will be on the board’s agenda in February.
Mr. Tackett addressed the issue raised by Representative Burch concerning the academic requirements on the high school statewide. On the first day of school, students must be on schedule to graduate on time, and the athlete must pass a minimal number of courses throughout the year. Local districts can make those requirements more stringent but must follow the minimum standard. In response to a question from Representative Burch concerning the graduation rate for athletes, Mr. Tackett stated that Indiana is in the process of finalizing a study on participation, grade point averages, and graduation rates, participants in athletics versus nonparticipants, but statewide there has not been that kind of tracking. Studies have shown that athletes do better than the general student body in terms of participation and grade point. In states that tried an arbitrary grade point requirement, the schools and districts shifted what qualified for that grade.
Representative Hall inquired of the co-chairs whether the task force will allow the State Board of Education to take action without legislation. Chair Rollins stated that the statutes allow the State Board of Education to control interscholastic athletics at all levels, and some of these considerations should be addressed by the State Board of Education so that there are uniform requirements. Representative Hall indicated that it would be helpful to have feedback from the State Board of Education when the legislature convenes Part II of the 2013 Session in February and that he would be willing to sponsor legislation. Mr. Brown reiterated that the task force’s considerations will be provided to the board next week, that preparations for the board’s February meeting will begin immediately after the December meeting, that the board will begin looking over these considerations, and that the legislature will be aware before the board meets in February whether some of the considerations will need statutory assistance.
Representative Hall expressed appreciation for the assistance from Mr. Tackett. Representative Hall introduced Jack Givens and welcomed him back to Kentucky.
Chair Rollins stated that the not-for-profit organizations in basketball, football, and wrestling have done well, and that students who participate in athletics and other activities are better students academically and are more likely to graduate, and that middle school is where schools lose students and part of that is because students are not challenged. Chair Rollins indicated that all testimony received by the task force had been excellent.
Representative Burch moved that the Draft Report of the Task Force on Interscholastic Athletics at the Middle School Level as written be approved, seconded by Representative Hall. Chair Rollins said this approval is with the understanding that Co-Chair Wilson and he will approve the final report following minor edits. The report was adopted unanimously by voice vote.
Chair Rollins reminded members to complete their expense reports, including mileage and meals if appropriate, and thanked the task force members for their participation and attendance.
The meeting was adjourned at about 1:25 p.m.