The Missouri State High School Activities Association responded this morning to an Associated Press story regarding a special committee of state lawmakers that will examine the regulation of high school sports
Here is the MSHSAAâ€™s response:
For the record, The Associated Press story released Tuesday, April 24, regarding a special panel dispatched by the Missouri House of Representatives to study high school sports contains a number of factual errors and inaccurate accounts.
The Missouri State High School Activities Association is a voluntary, not-for-profit organization comprised of both public and nonpublic member schools. The Association welcomes the opportunity to publicly dispel any myths or misconceptions about its processes and procedures to the House special committee and intends to fully cooperate in these efforts.
The Association, however, takes issue with many of the statements made in The Associated Press article, written by Alan Zagier on April 24.
The special committee mentioned in The Associated Press article, which will be chaired by Rep. Gayle Kingery of Poplar Bluff, is not affiliated with any particular bill or legislative movement. The AP article implied a correlation between bills filed by other representatives and the committee itself, which is not an accurate portrayal.
The article also inaccurately described a â€ódisciplinary meeting in Columbiaâ€™ held earlier this school year. The meeting in question was not a disciplinary meeting, but a regularly scheduled meeting of the MSHSAA Board of Directors. Like every meeting conducted by the MSHSAA, this meeting was an open meeting and in full compliance with Missouri Sunshine Laws.
Legislators who came to the meeting were not turned away at the door. At the time they arrived, a closed-session eligibility hearing was taking place that involved private and personally identifiable student records. This was explained to the legislators in a courteous fashion at that time. Later, a follow-up letter from MSHSAA Executive Director Dr. Kerwin Urhahn was sent as a professional courtesy to each legislator explaining why student hearings are conducted in closed session. Allowing anyone into that portion of the meeting would have been a violation of state law. Once that particular portion of the meeting had concluded, the meeting returned to open session in compliance with the Missouri statute.
The AP article also erroneously states that Naylor High School was stripped of a state championship and had its basketball season canceled. Because of violations of the Associationâ€™s residency regulations, Naylorâ€™s 2006 district girls basketball championship was forfeited, and it was withheld from the 2007 district playoffs. The school did not cancel its season, and it completed its 2006-07 girls basketball regular season as scheduled. Naylor never has won a state title in any sport. The penalties for Naylorâ€™s multiple violations were detailed in a press release issued by the Association on January 27.
The Association feels that specific comments made to The Associated Press regarding assertions of “abusing children” are completely unfounded and insensitive to victims of abuse and domestic violence.
The Missouri State High School Activities Association currently has 578 member senior high schools, 189 separate junior high schools and 310 combined junior high members. The article inaccurately states that the Association has 700 high schools and 100 middle schools.