For Immediate Release:
November 15, 2016
Matthew Nocella, (202) 724-8105
New structure for D.C. school athletics moves forward
Washington, D.C. – Today, the Council of the District of Columbia preliminarily approved Councilmember David Grosso’s proposal to create a governing state association for interscholastic athletics that address issues plaguing the current structure. The following is his statement on the proposal:
“Interscholastic athletics in the District of Columbia are desperately in need of reform. During my tenure as chairperson of the Committee on Education it has become clear that problems persist that affect operations, governance, and enforcement. Solving these woes is necessary to restore confidence and accountability in school sports.
“The major issue facing our current system is a lack of structure for consistently enforcing rules and regulations that is easily understood by the public. The roots of this problem stem from imprecise regulations further complicated by a piecemeal approach to governance.
“The bill establishes the DCSAA as a quasi-independent agency that will act as the governing body. OSSE will remain the regulatory authority for athletics.
“It creates a 15-person Commission, including mayor-appointed parents and members from the various types of schools, as well as non-voting ex-officio members from related agencies. The Commission will have ultimate control over DCSAA and its staff and the authority to set and enforce membership standards that are consistent with D.C. laws and OSSE regulations.
“Additionally, the Commission will establish Athletics Appeals Panels, consisting of three voting members from the commission, who will hear appeals from member leagues or schools.
“For example, if a DCPS student has an eligibility dispute at their school the DCIAA will hear the matter and issue a ruling. If the student wants to appeal the decision, they can bring it to an Athletic Appeals Panel who will review DCIAA’s decision on its merits without doing any further fact-finding. The Athletics Appeals Panel will then issue a final decision that will be enforced by the Commission.
“A lot of time and effort went into thoughtfully crafting this bill. I would like to thank those who engaged with me and my staff to give us insight into their experiences with interscholastic athletics, especially our agency partners at OSSE, DCPS, the PCSB, and other charter LEAs for participating in working groups about the current regulations. I look forward to final passage at the next legislative meeting of the Council.”