The Governor signed legislation Friday that would provide more transparency of how school athletic funds are used by athletic associations. House Bill 2730, by Rep. Bobby Cleveland and Sen. Ron Sharp, was drafted following concerns raised against the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Athletic Association (OSSAA) during a House interim study last fall. The OSSAA is responsible for supervising the extracurricular activities, including athletics, of grades seven through twelve for Oklahoma’s public schools.
“I’m very pleased the governor signed this bill. It shows that she is concerned about accountability and transparency,” said Cleveland, R-Slaughterville. “This bill will force the OSSAA to open up their proceedings to the public for everyone to see what is going on and, hopefully, our students, parents and coaches will be dealt with more fairly going forward.”
HB 2730 prohibits public schools and districts from being a member of any school athletic association unless the association has adopted a written policy that adheres to the Oklahoma Open Records Act and the Oklahoma Open Meetings Act. The measure requires an annual financial and compliance audit be conducted by the association in accordance with the standards in the Oklahoma Public School Audit Law. Lastly, a performance audit must be conducted by December 31, 2014, and by December 31 every five years thereafter.
“The OSSAA is tasked with making many important decisions including athletic districts, playoffs, student transfers and eligibility,” said Sharp, R-Shawnee. “These are decisions that have a major impact on our student athletes and school districts, and for that reason we must ensure there is sufficient oversight of the association so parents, teachers, coaches and other citizens can rest assured that funds are being managed properly,”
The bill was amended to remove the language regarding the purpose of the measure as well as the requirement that school athletic associations comply with the Administrative Procedures Act.
The bill was a top priority for the Oklahoma Press Association.