Tahlequah Daily Press

High School Sports

October 4, 2013

OSSAA's Ed Sheakley testifies at legislative hearing

OKLAHOMA CITY — Despite numerous complaints from legislators, coaches, and parents of student-athletes, the head of the embattled organization that governs Oklahoma high school sports said Thursday that there is no need for the Legislature to impose statutory restrictions on the group.

Ed Sheakley, the executive director of the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association, told members of the House Administrative Rules, Government Oversight and Repealer Committee that while there are some policy changes that should be made, they should come from the group’s member schools and the OSSAA’s governing board, not the Legislature.

Sheakley’s testimony came on the third and final day of the committee’s three-day probe into the association and its finances and two days after a scathing 7-2 opinion from the Oklahoma Supreme Court that determined the association acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner in its handling of a high school football player’s case.

Among the suggestions discussed by legislators were requiring the OSSAA to comply with the state’s Open Records and Open Meetings laws.

“I believe we’re already doing that right now,” Sheakley said. “There’s nothing being done behind closed doors. I believe we’re very transparent with our membership.”

Sheakley also maintained that the association is a private, volunteer association, despite the Supreme Court’s suggestion in its ruling that it would treat the group in the future as a state agency because it is so interwoven with the public school system.

Chad Smith was the attorney for the successful plaintiff in the case, Brayden Scott, a senior quarterback at Sequoyah, who had been ruled ineligible by OSSAA.

Smith, the former principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, testified at Thursday’s hearing that the OSSAA’s rulemaking process is convoluted and that its extensive policies and rules are difficult for the average parent or coach to understand.

“It was a nightmare,” Smith said.

Smith also said the governance and appeals process of the OSSAA, which involves a 14-member governing board of mostly school principals and superintendents, is “fatally flawed.”

He urged lawmakers to consider implementing an administrative law judge to handle appeals and streamline the association’s public rulemaking process.

The OSSAA oversees extracurricular activities for nearly every public school in Oklahoma for grades seven through 12, including the makeup of athletic districts, playoffs and student transfers and eligibility. Funded primarily through gate revenue from high school sports championship games, the association had a $5.4 million operating budget during the fiscal year that ended in June, and Sheakley said the agency also maintains a $2 million reserve fund and spent $400,000 in attorney fees last year.

The three-day hearing before the House Administrative Rules, Government Oversight and Repealer Committee involved testimony from numerous parents, coaches and attorneys and centered mostly around the emotionally charged issue of student transfers, where varsity athletes often lose a year of eligibility when changing districts.

“There are a lot of people who are not happy with this organization and I think it was a highly productive use of the committee’s time,” Chairman Rep. Gus Blackwell, R-Laverne, said after the meeting. “Several pieces of legislation have been proposed from this study that will change business as usual at the OSSAA.”

1
Text Only
High School Sports
  • Date set for Keys football physicals

    Before scheduled practices can begin in order to prepare for the season, players must first receive a physical.
    Next Tuesday, Aug. 5, Keys High School will be administering physicals in the high school cafeteria.

    July 31, 2014

  • Keys-Dakota.jpg Playing both sides of the line

    Recently, Keys High School football standout Dakota Matlock was nearly severely injured in a terrifying car wreck.

    Matlock is coming off a stellar gridiron season for Keys High School. On offense, Matlock ran for over 1,000 yards for the Cougars. In his sophomore season, Matlock led Keys in tackles from the safety position.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hooper.jpg Sparking the flame

    Sequoyah High School’s Justin Hooper looking to lead this year

    Last season was Justin’s last chance to play alongside Cody at Sequoyah High School.
    Justin had to battle to win the Indians starting tailback. The coaching staff did not know who was going to be the Indians starting running back coming into fall practice.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Johnson, East win easily at All-State

    Jake Johnson was able to hold off Lawton MacArthur’s Trent Meisel at the Class 5A state tournament in May. On Monday at the All-State tournament at Cherokee Hills Golf Club, Johnson had it much easier against Meisel.

    July 29, 2014

  • TAH-MORGAN.jpg Brett’s ball club

    Brett Morgan taking over as Tahlequah’s softball coach

    July 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Morgan taking over as Tahlequah’s softball coach

    July 14, 2014

  • -1.tif Playing through pain

    Tahlequah's Chase Campbell playing football despite an injured shoulder

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • o'donnell3.jpg Randee repairs shoulder

    Former Tahlequah standout Randee O’Donnell has shoulder operation before starting college career

    July 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • OSSAA to coaches: No more criticism of officials

    June 27, 2014

  • Benson.jpg Former Tahlequah coach hired at Duncan

    June 25, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you think "blue laws" related to Sunday alcohol sales in Oklahoma should be relaxed? Choose the option that most closely reflects your opinion.

Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars, and liquor stores should be open.
Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars only; liquor stores should stay closed.
Liquor stores should be open Sundays, but drinks should not be served anywhere on Sundays.
The law should remain as it is now; liquor stores should be closed, and drinks should be served on Sundays according to county option.
No alcohol should be sold or served publicly on Sundays.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Stocks