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Bill to provide AHSAA accountability officially prefiled

State Rep. Kyle South (R-Fayette) has officially prefiled his heavily supported bill to bring public oversight and accountability to the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) moving forward.

Representatives can prefile bills for the legislature’s regular session that begins on March 5 now since the House’s organizational session adjourned sine die on Wednesday.

South’s prefiled bill has been dubbed HB19 and informally referred to the House’s committee on state government. Once the regular session convenes, the bill will formally be referred to the same standing committee.

The bill currently has 90 House cosponsors, plus South. The chamber is comprised of 105 members.

Cosponsors include Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia), Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville), Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville) and Majority Whip Danny Garrett (R-Trussville), as well as the committee on state government’s chair and vice chair, state Reps. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) and Chris Sells (R-Greenville) respectively.

You can find a copy of the bill here, along with a list of all cosponsors.

While it may be too late to save USA Basketball star Maori Davenport’s senior season at Charles Henderson High School in Troy, South is attempting to fix a problem that he views as much more than an isolated poor decision by the AHSAA.

South’s legislation would do three main things.

First, it would mandate that any rules by the AHSAA regarding a student athlete’s eligibility be reviewed and approved by the State Board of Education. This is directly addressing the type of situation that Davenport now faces.

South’s bill would also codify that 25 percent of the AHSAA governing body be appointed by the State Board of Education or the State Superintendent of Education. This composition would need to be put into place by January 1, 2020, and would provide public accountability throughout all aspects of the AHSAA’s governance.

Thirdly, the legislation would require that the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts audit the AHSAA in the same manner as it would a public agency.

On Thursday, the Alabama House Republican Caucus announced the unanimous endorsement of its 77 members for Maori Davenport’s immediate reinstatement by the AHSAA.

Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and Lieutenant Governor-elect Will Ainsworth have called on the AHSAA to reinstate Davenport’s eligibility immediately, too.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

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