This week in my Education K-12 Subcommittee and in the full House Education Committee, we debated a bill dealing with eligibility of high school student-athletes.

Now, if you’re like me, you may initially think “Are we trying to be like Congress and investigate steroids in sports? Is this something we really need to be working on in our state?”

Well, without getting too specific….if you have a daughter who’s been harassed, had her car vandalized, and had to seek protection through the courts….who had to transfer schools to feel safe……who had appeals to the South Carolina High School League rejected…..only to have the other party involved continue to be allowed to play and stay at school……and this young lady can’t play and is moved for her safety…..well, yes, we need to fix that.

Thing is – we’re not fixing it for her. Her season is finished and she never got to play. We’re fixing it for the other boys/girls who may face this situation in the future.

In testimony we heard that the SCHSL “makes tough decisions…many that cost schools state championships.” That may be so, but in this case their decision could have cost a young lady her much more. I applaud her parents for realizing her safety is more important than playing for a high school team. Her parents did the right thing and pulled her from the school where the other party still attended. The move ended up costing their daughter her final senior season.

I hate to think what would’ve happened if they kept her there because the SCHSL’s decision meant she would have to stay in order to play.

During testimony we heard that the SCHSL board approves “more than half of the hardship waivers that are requested”. So, tell me…this instance wouldn’t qualify for that?

A colleague made an excellent point as he wasn’t sure if the SCHSL was to blame but that definitely the school she attended was.

I don’t think the General Assembly’s primary function should be “nanny-government”; however, I don’t get a vote on the SCHSL Board but I do get one here. I’m not a fan of micromanagement but I can sleep knowing this bill would give the LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT the decision on whether an athlete can transfer and not forfeit a year of eligibility…only in the case of abuse, restraining order, etc.

Representative Shannon Erickson (R-Beaufort) was the lead sponsor of the bill. The bill now goes to the full House for debate next week.