New High School Athletic Governing Structure Signed into Law

House Bill 91 reflects months-long stakeholder process, agreement focusing on student-athletes

Raleigh, N.C. — Today Gov. Roy Cooper signed a new governing structure for high school athletics into law following a months-long stakeholder process in the General Assembly. The new structure will emphasize the needs of student-athletes while allowing the State Board of Education to partner with a nonprofit organization to oversee high school athletics.

“For months we worked tirelessly to determine the best governing structure that supports our student-athletes and is transparent and accountable,” Sen. Vickie Sawyer (R-Iredell) said. “After productive conversations with the NCHSAA, State Board of Education, Governor’s Office, and our Democratic colleagues, we’ve established a clear path forward. I want to thank Gov. Cooper for signing this bill into law.”

House Bill 91 requires the State Board of Education to enter into a four-year memorandum of understanding to designate a nonprofit organization that will administer and enforce state law and rules adopted by the State Board of Education for high school athletics. The State Board of Education has the ability to delegate some authority to that nonprofit.

The State Board of Education will adopt rules governing student participation, health and safety, appeals, the administering organization, and reporting. The State Board of Education will have the ability to delegate the authority to establish rules for penalties, administration (including division and conference classifications, coaching, officiation, sportsmanship, and scheduling), gameplay, and fees.

House Bill 91 also requires the State Board of Education to establish an independent appeals board. The nonprofit administering organization will be required to have an independent audit done annually.

“This restructuring directly addresses concerns we’ve heard from student-athletes, parents, coaches, and administrators,” Sen. Todd Johnson (R-Union) said. “I look forward to seeing the positive impacts of this legislation on high school athletics and want to thank all the stakeholders for working together to find a solution.”

This legislation represents a Herculean effort to provide the best opportunities for our student-athletes, while also setting clear standards for all involved,” Sen. Tom McInnis (R-Moore) said. “I’m thankful for everyone coming to the table and working to find a solution.”

Press releases from N.C. Senate Republicans and Senate Leader Phil Berger