Lawmaker drafts legislation to provide more oversight of AHSAA in response to Maori Davenport decision

In response to a controversial decision by the Alabama High School Athletic Association regarding the eligibility of Charles Henderson High School basketball standout Maori Davenport, State Rep. Kyle South (R - Fayette) announced on Wednesday that he has drafted legislation providing a measure of government oversight of the AHSAA operations.

South said the bill will be pre-filed for consideration in the 2019 regular session, and, currently, 87 of the 105 members of the Alabama House have already signed on as co-sponsors.

“Rather than taking special circumstances into consideration and impartially considering the facts at hand, the Alabama High School Athletic Association has created an unnecessary national controversy and callously ruled in a manner that adversely affects an innocent young woman’s eligibility,” South said. “Time and time again, the AHSAA has engaged in behavior and ruled in a manner that clearly calls for more oversight of its actions. Considering the AHSAA receives a majority of its funds from taxpayer-funded public schools and the athletic activities of public school students, there is ample justification for government oversight of its operations.”

Under the provision’s of South’s legislation, the State Board of Education would be required to review and approve any rules relating to student participation and eligibility before being adopted by AHSAA.

In addition, the bill would require 25 percent of the AHSAA governing members to be appointed by the state superintendent of education or the state board of education.

The bill would also require the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts to audit AHSAA in the same manner as a state agency in Alabama.

South noted that AHSAA recently ruled Davenport ineligible for amateur status because of a clerical oversight associated with her play on the Team USA basketball team. Davenport had self-reported the oversight, and immediate actions were taken to rectify the situation.