The role of government has come under fire lately. Should local, state and federal legislative bodies control every aspect of our lives? Just when you shake your head saying “no,” the Georgia Legislature, which already believes it is all-powerful anyway, wants to reach into the admittedly flawed Georgia High School Association and make some changes. Lawmakers think they have that right because the General Assembly controls the purse strings to all 180 school systems in the state.
Instead of lawmakers dealing with the health and welfare of the state’s population, such as finding more funding for the state’s schools, they want to dabble in a private-membership sports organization. Senate Rules Committee Chairman Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, said the GHSA was like a “members only club.” Well, that’s what it is. He’s concerned about “how they conduct business.” Translated, that means he’s not getting what he wants for the schools in his district and he’s willing, along with like-minded lawmakers, to bully the GHSA. One of the most difficult tasks the GHSA does is the classification of schools and in what region they will play. While the GHSA controls all competition between schools, from debate to baseball, make no mistake -- this is about football.
Lawmakers want to control who sits on the GHSA Executive Committee, how much it charges for tournament events, the diversity of committee members and how many years they can serve. Granted, the GHSA is not the warm and fuzzy interscholastic organization we all hope it could be. It has ruled with an iron fist when it comes to rights for broadcasting events -- many times pricing small rural stations out of the action. Regularly there are fights over classifications and regions. But that’s not the point. The point is that it’s up to the member schools of the GHSA to make the necessary changes, not the General Assembly. And for those legislators who preach they want to get government out of our lives and private businesses, this is no way to act.