Lawmakers look to crackdown on agency controlling all Okla. HS sports

UPDATE: House Bill 2730 would prohibit public schools and districts from joining any athletic association that has not adopted a written policy requiring them to abide by the Oklahoma Open Records Act, the Oklahoma Open Meetings Act, the Oklahoma Administrative Procedures Act and the Oklahoma Public School Audit Law.

The bill cleared the House Administrative Rules Committee and now heads to the Calendar Committee for consideration.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma lawmakers look to crack down on the governing body of high school sports.

A new bill filed at the statehouse would force the OSSAA to comply with the state Open Meetings and Open Records act.

The group oversees Friday night football, cheerleading, basketball, tens of thousands of high school athletes in all, but several lawmakers are critical of the way the OSSAA does business.

“They think they can do what they want,” said Rep. Bobby Cleveland.  “I’m gonna tell you flat out, they’re a bunch of bullies.”

Rep. Cleveland recently submitted an open records request to the OSSAA.

In response, OSSAA executive director Ed Sheakley wrote, “I do not agree with your contentions that OSSAA is an organization subject to the Open Records Act.”

Cleveland has now authored a statehouse bill that would force the association to have a written policy of complying with both the Oklahoma Open Records and Open Meetings acts.

“What we’re trying to do is make the OSSAA more accountable and more transparent,” said Cleveland.

“We’ve always got room to grow and get better as an organization,” said Ed Sheakley.

For his part, Sheakley does not want changes to the OSSAA being implemented from the state capitol.

“We would hope changes come from within and not from outside,” said Sheakley.

The association director points out right now they voluntarily follow the Open Records Act.

The bill would make that mandatory.

The bill would also call for a performance audit of the association every five years.