Florida Senate - 2016                      CS for CS for SB 1026
       By the Committees on Appropriations; and Education Pre-K - 12;
       and Senator Simmons
       576-03791-16                                          20161026c2
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to high school athletics; amending s.
    3         1006.20, F.S.; requiring the Florida High School
    4         Athletic Association (FHSAA) to allow a private school
    5         to join the association as a full-time member or to
    6         join by sport; prohibiting the FHSAA from discouraging
    7         a private school from maintaining membership in the
    8         FHSAA and another athletic association; authorizing
    9         the FHSAA to allow a public school to apply for
   10         consideration to join another athletic association;
   11         prohibiting the FHSAA from taking any retributory or
   12         discriminatory action against specified schools;
   13         authorizing the Commissioner of Education to identify
   14         other associations in compliance with specified
   15         provisions; providing a process for resolving student
   16         eligibility disputes; conforming a cross-reference;
   17         providing an effective date.
   19  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   21         Section 1. Subsection (1) and present paragraph (h) of
   22  subsection (2) of section 1006.20, Florida Statutes, are
   23  amended, present paragraphs (g) through (m) of that subsection
   24  are redesignated as paragraphs (h) through (n), respectively,
   25  and a new paragraph (g) is added to that subsection, to read:
   26         1006.20 Athletics in public K-12 schools.—
   27         (1) GOVERNING NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION.—The Florida High
   28  School Athletic Association (FHSAA) is designated as the
   29  governing nonprofit organization of athletics in Florida public
   30  schools. If the FHSAA fails to meet the provisions of this
   31  section, the commissioner shall designate a nonprofit
   32  organization to govern athletics with the approval of the State
   33  Board of Education. The FHSAA is not a state agency as defined
   34  in s. 120.52 but is. The FHSAA shall be subject to ss. 1006.15
   35  1006.19 the provisions of s. 1006.19. A private school that
   36  wishes to engage in high school athletic competition with a
   37  public high school may become a member of the FHSAA. Any high
   38  school in the state, including private schools, traditional
   39  public schools, charter schools, virtual schools, and home
   40  education cooperatives, may become a member of the FHSAA and
   41  participate in the activities of the FHSAA. However, Membership
   42  in the FHSAA is not mandatory for any school. The FHSAA must
   43  allow a private school the option of joining the association as
   44  a full-time member or on a per-sport basis and may not prohibit
   45  or discourage a private school from simultaneously maintaining
   46  membership in the FHSAA and another athletic association. The
   47  FHSAA may allow a public school the option to apply for
   48  consideration to join another athletic association on a per
   49  sport basis. The FHSAA may not deny or discourage
   50  interscholastic competition between its member schools and
   51  nonmember non-FHSAA member Florida schools, including members of
   52  another athletic association governing organization, and may not
   53  take any retributory or discriminatory action against any of its
   54  member schools that seek to participate in interscholastic
   55  competition with nonmember non-FHSAA member Florida schools or
   56  any of its member schools that seek membership in other
   57  associations for a sport for which they are not a member of the
   58  FHSAA. The FHSAA may not unreasonably withhold its approval of
   59  an application to become an affiliate member of the National
   60  Federation of State High School Associations submitted by any
   61  other association organization that governs interscholastic
   62  athletic competition in this state which meets the requirements
   63  of this section. The commissioner may identify other
   64  associations that govern interscholastic athletic competition in
   65  compliance with this section The bylaws of the FHSAA are the
   66  rules by which high school athletic programs in its member
   67  schools, and the students who participate in them, are governed,
   68  unless otherwise specifically provided by statute. For the
   69  purposes of this section, “high school” includes grades 6
   70  through 12.
   72         (g) The FHSAA shall provide a process for the resolution of
   73  student eligibility disputes which includes the opportunity to
   74  use an informal conference procedure.
   75         1. The FHSAA must provide written notice to the student
   76  athlete, parent, and member school stating specific findings of
   77  fact that support a determination of ineligibility. The student
   78  athlete, parent, or member school must request an informal
   79  conference within 10 days after receipt of such notice if
   80  intending to contest the determination. The informal conference
   81  must be held within 10 days after receipt of the request. The
   82  informal conference may be held by telephone or by video
   83  conference and, if video conference equipment is available, may
   84  be conducted at the student’s school.
   85         2. If the eligibility dispute is not resolved at the
   86  informal conference and if requested by the student athlete,
   87  parent, or member school, the FHSAA must provide a formal
   88  process for the timely and cost-effective resolution of an
   89  eligibility dispute by a neutral third party whose decision is
   90  binding on the parties to the dispute. The neutral third party
   91  must be mutually agreed to by the parties and may be a retired
   92  or former judge, a dispute resolution professional approved by
   93  The Florida Bar or by the court in the circuit in which the
   94  dispute arose, or a certified mediator or arbitrator in the
   95  jurisdiction in which the dispute arose. If the parties cannot
   96  mutually agree on a neutral third party, the FHSAA must select a
   97  neutral third party at random from a list of dispute resolution
   98  professionals maintained by The Florida Bar.
   99         3. A final determination regarding the eligibility dispute
  100  must be issued no later than 30 days after the informal
  101  conference, unless an extension is agreed upon by both parties.
  102         (i)(h) In lieu of bylaws adopted under paragraph (h) (g),
  103  the FHSAA may adopt bylaws providing as a minimum the procedural
  104  safeguards of ss. 120.569 and 120.57, making appropriate
  105  provision for appointment of unbiased and qualified hearing
  106  officers.
  107         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2016.