A bill is making its way through both the House and Senate revising and altering the way the Florida High School Athletic Association regulates student athlete’s eligibility and conducts investigations. Portions of the bill allows students to, in some cases, maintain athletic eligibility even after transfering schools. Roger Dearing, Executive Director of the FHSAA, said the measure will tear down the barriers that protect student athletes from recruiting by dishonest coaches.
"Children are influenced by adults, and this opens the door to those unscrupulous adults who would try to use kids for their own endeavor," Dearing said, "whether it’s to be their agent, to get them a college scholarship, or whether it’s to build a championship team, that’s my biggest fear, the usury of young children.”
The measures have also garnered criticism from the National Federation of State High School Associations, saying the bills would damage the integrity of high school sports in Florida. Bob Gardner, Executive Director of the NFSHSA said he hasn’t seen this kind of legislation anywhere else in the country.
"There are frequently, in some states, bills filed in the legislature, but not to throw the baby out with the bath water so to speak, but perhaps to influence or look at some particular aspect of the rules, but certainly nothing of this magnitude," Gardner said.
Both the House and Senate bills are sponsored by Republicans from central Florida, with the House version going to the floor, and the Senate counterpart still in committees.
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