McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

October 4, 2013

Interim study examines complaints, concerns about athletic association

Changes to OSSAA are likely

OKLAHOMA CITY — For more than two hours Thursday, Ed Sheakley answered questions from the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

The director of Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association was called to the State Capitol at the conclusion of an interim study delving into complaints and concerns regarding his organization.

After the study ended, changes to how the OSSAA operates seemed to be in the near future.

“I do intend to have legislation, and I know other members do, too, to make sure the money is spent wisely,” said State Rep. Gus Blackwell, who chaired the committee conducting the study. “There are a lot of people who are not happy with this organization, and I think it was a highly productive use of the committee’s time. Several pieces of legislation have been proposed from this study that will change business as usual at the OSSAA.”

State Rep. Bobby Cleveland, R-Slaughterville, who requested the study, said it gave all sides a hearing and has provided state legislators with information on how to address complaints and concerns leveled against the organization.

“Proposals were made during the study on what we as state legislators could do to improve the current situation in the upcoming 2014 legislative session,” Cleveland said. “The Oklahoma Supreme Court has encouraged us to take action on our ruling, and I think we will be looking to make OSSAA more accountable to the state and, therefore, all Oklahomans.”

The interim study was authored by Cleveland and joined by Rep. Jason Murphey, who felt the OSSAA tried to keep the study from taking place.

“After we talked about calling for this interim study, your office sent out an email, and I think it was to a lot of the schools,” Murphey said. “It essentially asked them to call us with the statement, ‘Such action toward a private entity like the OSSAA will create a dangerous precedent for other organizations ... Let them know an interim study is not needed.’ Why was the attitude of your agency so hostile for us to even have this study?”

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