The Pryor Times

Breaking News

Sports

September 18, 2013

State legislators probe OSSAA criticisms

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — Parents, coaches and school administrators voiced numerous complaints on Tuesday about a lack of oversight of the organization that oversees tens of thousands of Oklahoma high school athletes, cheerleaders and other extracurricular activities.

People from across Oklahoma were invited by legislators to testify before the House Administrative Rules Committee about their experience with the private, nonprofit Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association. Tuesday's day-long hearing is one of three such meetings scheduled before the committee over the next month to determine whether more transparency and oversight is needed for the association.

"Because the OSSAA makes decisions that affect so many lives and derives money that is public in nature, there must be accountability and transparency," said Rep. Bobby Cleveland, R-Slaughterville, who requested the study. "It is our intent to answer serious, significant questions that have arisen."

Among the complaints voiced Tuesday were from parents who were upset about OSSAA's decisions on transfer requests and from football coaches concerned about the way revenue is shared from high school football playoff games. Lawmakers also heard from the athletic director at Bishop McGuinness High School, a private Catholic school in Oklahoma City, who complained about the rules governing private schools.

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, among other things. It is governed by a 14-member board of mostly school principals and superintendents and had an annual operating budget last year of $5.4 million.

Much of the association's revenue comes from gate receipts for high school playoff games, which generated more than $4.5 million last year, according to the agency's financial statements. After expenditures associated with the playoffs, the association reported netting about $1.8 million.

Kim Longest, head football coach at Duncan High School and president of the Oklahoma Football Coaches Association, said the association has been unwilling to negotiate over how the playoff revenue is divided.

"You're not going to make any money if you go to the playoffs anymore in football," Longest said. "In fact, you're probably going to lose money."

OSSAA's Executive Director Ed Sheakley, who was not invited to address the committee on Tuesday, said the agreement on the revenue sharing for football playoff games was agreed to by a majority of its member schools and makes more money available to reimburse schools in other sports and extracurricular activities.

"We do keep more of the money, and with that amount we have been able to increase reimbursement in all our other activities, increase basketball reimbursement, increase activities that were never able to get reimbursement in the past," said Sheakley, who said it's not uncommon for his organization to be the target of complaints.

"You look at all the decisions we make throughout the course of a year ... hardship waivers, playoff contests, hiring of officials and putting on events," Sheakley said. "Is there going to be disgruntled people along the way? Sure there is. You can't make the number of decisions we make on a daily basis without people being disgruntled."

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • adair abbey stephens.jpg Adair aiming high in 2014

    Adair's Lady Warriors will have plenty of chances to earn respect and a shot at the program's third straight regional tournament appearance in 2013.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • dirtseller pirtle.JPG Locals take their game nationwide

    Five Locust Grove Pirates represented the United States over the weekend at the USA Football 16U/17U National Development Games in Towson, Md.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Patterson, McIntire named to rosters

    Salina's Cullen Patterson and Locust Grove's Cameron McIntire have been selected as replacements for this week's Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State events in Tulsa.

    July 27, 2014

  • kegley mug.jpg Pryor's Kegley serving with purpose

    Pryor's Taylor Kegley always knew he was destined for a career of service.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Chouteau approves athletic upgrades

    Chouteau High School is getting a head start on making upgrades to its athletic facilities.

    July 22, 2014

  • doty mug web.jpg Ex-Tiger Doty adjusting on and off the field

    Former Pryor Tiger Christian Doty joined the Oklahoma Baptist University football team for its first season in 73 years in 2013, and rejoined the team Friday to begin preparations for the school's sophomore season.

    July 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • lococo.jpg Wildcats marching to their own beat

    After spring sports finished, Salina head coach Matt Williams had a peculiar message for his football team.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tigers earn top seed, fall in semis

    Pryor's improved passing game was on display again Monday, as the Tigers traveled to Hilldale for a 7-on-7 tournament and finished in the tourney's top four.

    July 15, 2014

  • IMG_9538KRT.jpg Summer Nationals returns to Chouteau Bend

    After a year-long hiatus, the Mid-America Summer Nationals drag boat races will return to Chouteau Bend.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • brock taylor.JPG Pirates slowed at 7-on-7 showcase

    Locust Grove went head-to-head against some of the best skill players in the region last weekend at the Southwest Elite 7-on-7 Showcase in Springdale, Ark.

    July 14, 2014 2 Photos