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State senate to hear bill on private schools today

Posted Jan 30, 2012 by Bill Ward

Updated Jan 30, 2012 at 09:20 AM

Today in the Florida State Senate, Bill 1704 has been placed on the agenda. The bill proposes to recognize the Sunshine Independent Athletic Association as a sports governing body for private high schools in the state. The bill is slated to be discussed by the Senate Education Committee and is slated to be broadcast online at the Florida Channel web site from 3:30-5:30 p.m. The site is the floridachannel.org.

Private schools who are members of the Florida High School Athletic Association are hoping to get clarification on whether the bill would make it mandatory for them to switch to the SIAA. The FHSAA has been in existence since 1920 and currently governs sports and sports competitions at the vast majority of high schools in Florida (more than 700).

The SIAA, which has just 11 member schools, was formed in 2008 by a small group of private schools. If passed, the bill would require an annual championship competition pitting FHSAA champions against SIAA champions in all sports. A similar Florida House version of the bill is also asking for many of the Senate’s bill, including provisions that would allow private or charter-school students to compete on public school teams. Both bills would prevent the FHSAA from “denying or discouraging” regular-season competitions between its member schools and SIAA schools.

Last year, the FHSAA’s board of directors voted to deny an SIAA request for interleague play.

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