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Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

GHSA executive committee tables legislative-fueled discussions

MACON - The Georgia High School Association elected to table discussions on constitutional amendments that would impose 10-year term limits on its 58 executive committee members and require that they be employed by a school or school system. The decision was made at the GHSA’s executive committee meeting, held at the Macon Marriott City Center.

The issues surrounding term limits and employment requirements of executive committee members stems from SB 343, a bill that passed the senate but stalled in the house committee in the recently concluded legislative session.

Legislators passed a law establishing the GHSA oversight committee, and that committee will meet with a small group of the GHSA executive committee to continue the discussions that were tabled on Monday.

GHSA executive director Dr. Ralph Swearngin said it’s not known when the oversight and executive committees will meet, other than to say the meeting will likely occur in late spring or early summer. Swearngin also noted it hasn’t been decided who from the executive committee will represent the GHSA in the meetings. However, new GHSA executive director Gary Phillips – who steps in for the retiring Swearngin – will serve as the GHSA’s point person for the discussions.

“I would like for the legislators to have an awareness that the procedures we have in place are pretty good,” Swearngin said. “If they have suggestions for improvement, they let us know and we implement them. I think that a lot of times, legislators hear second-hand from people who are unhappy about something and they don’t always know what’s going on.”

Swearngin noted that from 2006-2010, the GHSA and oversight committees met three different times on a variety of issues – ranging from eligibility to dead weeks – and once both parties explained their sides, there were no confrontations.

Mill Creek athletic director Gary Long was the only executive committee member to express his opinion on the state legislators' involvement during Monday’s meeting.

“What I was alluding to was the fact I wasn’t sure who on the executive committee was going to be a part of the discussions with the oversight committee,” Long said. “I just want to know so everyone can know who we can express our concerns and opinions with, both on the oversight level as well as the executive committee.”

Long is one of many on the executive committee who doesn’t believe in term limits.

“If the state legislators would like to limit their own terms then I would be much more in favor of them mandating to other organizations a limit to terms,” Long said. "So no, I’m not in favor of limiting terms. I spoke to a state legislator about term limits and he said it takes years and years to learn the system to become an effective member of the legislative body.

“Well, the same is applicable to the executive committee.”

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