SCHSL votes to change constitution, establish appeals committee

By Mike

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - The South Carolina High School League has made changes to the league constitution that they believe will satisfy lawmakers who are already pushing legislation to change or disband the group.

The SCHSL voted unanimously on a resolution to create a committee that will renew and revise the league constitution to make it more modern for today's student athletes and families.

"We're trying to address athletics and student activities in the 21st century with items that were written in the 30s 40s and the 1950s. We think it's time for there to be some change in that," said Burke Royster, Superintendent Greenville County Schools.

While many changes to the constitution are expected to come in the upcoming months, they did make two amendments on Saturday.

The first change relates to the disqualification of a team for playing an ineligible player.{} The constitution's original wording stated that if an ineligible participant is used, the team must forfeit.

The new wording says the team "may" forfeit, opening the door for an appeal process.

The second constitutional change establishes a committee that will hear those appeals.

The changes made Saturday were in direct response to the disqualification of the Goose Creek football team from the state playoffs last year for playing a student-athlete deemed ineligible.

In the Goose Creek case, an appeal was made to the SCHSL executive committee, which had final say in the matter and disqualified the team.

The new constitutional amendment establishes an 11-member committee that will now have the final say in all appeals made to the SCHSL.

Seven of those members will be appointed by each legislative district in the state of South Carolina.

The Governor, Speaker of the House, President ProTem of the Senate, and SC Chamber of Commerce will each appoint a person to the committee, rounding out the field of 11 members.

Each committee member will serve four-year terms to hear cases like the Goose Creek football one of 2012.

There are several proposed bills already in the South Carolina House and Senate that aim to either disband or change the SCHSL.{}

The bill that has gained the most traction in either the House or Senate was proposed by Goose Creek Rep. Joe Daning. That bill proposes the creation of a Division of Interscholastic Athletics, under the Department of Education, which would serve as a replacement for the SCHSL.

Bill H-3229 was given a "favorable" status by the House Education and Public Works subcommittee back on Feb. 21.

Six days later, the House subcommittee suspended any further movement on the bill until Monday, Mar. 11, presumably allowing the SCHSL the opportunity to make amendments to the league constitution like the ones made Saturday.

ABC News 4 will have much more on this story as it develops in the coming days.