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Senate approves bill to diversify high school sports governing board

Membership on the Georgia High School Association’s board would be changed to reflect the students in the school districts they represent under a bill passed Tuesday by the state Senate.

Senate Bill 343, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, would require members of GHSA’s boards of trustees, executive committee or associated boards be employed by a local school system or private school for at least 100 school days per year.

The GHSA supervises athletics and other activities for thousands of high school athletes across the state, including sponsoring the state football championships held annually in the Georgia Dome. Its 58-member board includes few African-Americans and four women.

Mullis has called the GHSA a “club” that lacks diversity and discounts smaller schools. The bill, he said, rights that wrong.

GHSA administrators have opposed the bill, saying they already disclose their finances and that 48 of the 58 board members are selected by school across the state.

The bill would also create a joint legislative oversight committee to monitor the GHSA’s actions.

Senate Bill 288, which has already passed the Senate, would move the GHSA back under the General Assembly’s oversight and require the group to make public financial reports.

That bill would bar any public high school from joining an organization that collects fees to organize interscholastic sports events if that group does not annually publish a comprehensive financial report.

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