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House Bill 225 and the changes coming to the FHSAA


Joshua Wilson

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With Governor DeSantis signing HB 225 into law last week, major changes are in store for the FHSAA. This is the biggest change in 26 years since the 1997 shake up that eliminated the five-member executive committee and reduced the 33-member Board of Directors down to the current 16 that is in place at the moment. Now among the changes include reducing the board to 13 members with the governor picking 8 people and another 4 members will be elected by the FHSAA membership with the final person being that of the Commission of Education or their designee for that spot. 

I have put together a full breakdown of what it means and how to understand it all here: https://floridahsfootball.com/2023/05/22/understanding-all-the-changes-that-are-coming-to-the-fhsaa-this-summer-with-the-signing-of-house-bill-225/

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23 minutes ago, Joshua Wilson said:

With Governor DeSantis signing HB 225 into law last week, major changes are in store for the FHSAA. This is the biggest change in 26 years since the 1997 shake up that eliminated the five-member executive committee and reduced the 33-member Board of Directors down to the current 16 that is in place at the moment. Now among the changes include reducing the board to 13 members with the governor picking 8 people and another 4 members will be elected by the FHSAA membership with the final person being that of the Commission of Education or their designee for that spot. 

I have put together a full breakdown of what it means and how to understand it all here: https://floridahsfootball.com/2023/05/22/understanding-all-the-changes-that-are-coming-to-the-fhsaa-this-summer-with-the-signing-of-house-bill-225/

Josh, what do you see as the merits and detriments of this new change? 

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1 hour ago, Joshua Wilson said:

With Governor DeSantis signing HB 225 into law last week, major changes are in store for the FHSAA. This is the biggest change in 26 years since the 1997 shake up that eliminated the five-member executive committee and reduced the 33-member Board of Directors down to the current 16 that is in place at the moment. Now among the changes include reducing the board to 13 members with the governor picking 8 people and another 4 members will be elected by the FHSAA membership with the final person being that of the Commission of Education or their designee for that spot. 

I have put together a full breakdown of what it means and how to understand it all here: https://floridahsfootball.com/2023/05/22/understanding-all-the-changes-that-are-coming-to-the-fhsaa-this-summer-with-the-signing-of-house-bill-225/.

I read your breakdown and thought you did a terrific job of explaining everything in a succinct, clear way. Without starting another political flamewar, what do you think this means for the future of the FHSAA? Overall positive or negative? Do you think the governor (regardless of who the individual is,) being able to select new members will contribute to the FHSAA creating a fairer district/playoff structure in the future?

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2 hours ago, Perspective said:

Did I read the story correctly that IMG National team will now be able to compete for a FHSAA state title in football?   What classification would they be in?   Do they have to play by FHSAA rules or can they keep recruiting statewide/nationwide for talent?  

It certainly seems that if Josh has correctly interpreted this change, that IMG National per his example would be eligible for the state series.

But this begs several questions: 1. Would they have to compete within a district in order to do so? 2. What classification would they play in? 3. As you asked above, would they be allowed to recruit nationally for talent? 4. If the answer to 3 is yes, what teams would be willing to be in the same classification with them?

It seems that the balance of power would be so unequal, that even the Central's and St. Thomas's of the world would blush, as I assume that in any given decade, IMG would be State Champs in that division at least 9 times winning at least 8 of those 9 times in blowout fashion if they continue to adhere to their current recruiting philosophy. 

This, in my opinion, would be a total disaster for while every so often a "regular school" may be able to pull off a win against IMG, it would be literally impossible for even the consistently good schools (whether they actively recruit or not), to be competitive with IMG year in and year out. This would further accelerate the state series towards the farce it seems destined to become and would likely lead to the exit of many schools from the organization. 

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1 hour ago, DarterBlue2 said:

It certainly seems that if Josh has correctly interpreted this change, that IMG National per his example would be eligible for the state series.

But this begs several questions: 1. Would they have to compete within a district in order to do so? 2. What classification would they play in? 3. As you asked above, would they be allowed to recruit nationally for talent? 4. If the answer to 3 is yes, what teams would be willing to be in the same classification with them?

It seems that the balance of power would be so unequal, that even the Central's and St. Thomas's of the world would blush, as I assume that in any given decade, IMG would be State Champs in that division at least 9 times winning at least 8 of those 9 times in blowout fashion if they continue to adhere to their current recruiting philosophy. 

This, in my opinion, would be a total disaster for while every so often a "regular school" may be able to pull off a win against IMG, it would be literally impossible for even the consistently good schools (whether they actively recruit or not), to be competitive with IMG year in and year out. This would further accelerate the state series towards the farce it seems destined to become and would likely lead to the exit of many schools from the organization. 

The FHSAA is about to walk into unchartered territory and it will cause schools to break away from them in droves. The only way a playoff system with IMG National would be competitive is if the FHSAA set up a new format and put them in a 4 team district with STA, Miami Central, and (maybe) Northwestern or AHP. Make IMG travel for all four games and allow each team to take their bye week the week before facing them. I think STA and AHP have the coaching to beat IMG and Central’s athletes would keep them in the game for four quarters. 
 

But overall, I agree with you that putting IMG National In the playoffs would be an all-around disaster and would cause teams to leave in droves. When you recruit globally and have access to as many resources as IMG, you have no reason to ever lose a game at the high school level. I seriously hope they don’t let IMG National in, or if they do, at the VERY least put them in 3M and let STA try to beat them. The door the FHSAA is about to open will haunt them forever. 

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Man I don't think I liked a single change and I am usually open minded about change.  I don't understand the need for any of these changes and how are they possibly good for any public school?  FL HS football has some rules I wished they would address and modernize like the excessively penal holding call that gets enforced from the spot of the foul in the backfield instead of from the LOS.  I even talked to refs who all hate to give a 15-20 yard penalty for a 10 yard infraction.  Anyway, this bill is typical politician shit where they solve non-problems and ignore the actual real problems.

Edit:  Well lo and behold, a quick google search shows they actually did finally fix this excessive penalty.  Nice!  https://www.nfhs.org/articles/changes-in-basic-spot-for-penalty-enforcement-headline-2023-high-school-football-rules-changes/

Edit 2:  Since this was a national HS football rule change, does that mean FL will automatically accept it?

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Without opening up a political Pandora's Box, can anyone here offer up an explanation as to what prompted these changes?  In other words, and other than a private Christian school not being able to say a prayer over the loudspeaker before a playoff game, what happened that caused the lawmakers to feel that SB 225 was needed?

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I seriously doubt this law will get challenged. In my opinion the state legislature doesn't have authority over FHSAA. It didn't have authority in 1997, yet it got away with it. Neither did the state legislature have authority in 2012 nor now.  The FHSAA is a voluntary organization that wasn't created by the state government.  So the state government shouldn't have any authority to decide how it is ran. Secondly the state government has no say over private schools, who make up a fair amount of the FHSAA membership.  Third, while the state government does have authority over public schools,  no where is there a legal requirement that says a public school must be a FHSAA member. That's an assumption,  but I  cannot find where that is specified.  What I can find however is the latitude given to local government (county school districts included) to voluntarily enter into agreements with others.  That said, I seriously doubt anyone will challenge this law in court. Nor do I seriously see a mass exodus from the FHSAA. Instead it will be lay down and take it. However,  I see nothing that says if a group of schools, public or private wanted to form a new league, conference or join another (like SSAC), that anything could stop them.

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On 5/24/2023 at 7:28 AM, PinellasFB said:

Man I don't think I liked a single change and I am usually open minded about change.  I don't understand the need for any of these changes and how are they possibly good for any public school?  FL HS football has some rules I wished they would address and modernize like the excessively penal holding call that gets enforced from the spot of the foul in the backfield instead of from the LOS.  I even talked to refs who all hate to give a 15-20 yard penalty for a 10 yard infraction.  Anyway, this bill is typical politician shit where they solve non-problems and ignore the actual real problems.

Edit:  Well lo and behold, a quick google search shows they actually did finally fix this excessive penalty.  Nice!  https://www.nfhs.org/articles/changes-in-basic-spot-for-penalty-enforcement-headline-2023-high-school-football-rules-changes/

Edit 2:  Since this was a national HS football rule change, does that mean FL will automatically accept it?

Yes PinellasFB, that will be one of the rule changes for 2023 in Florida High School Football. 

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On 5/24/2023 at 9:25 AM, Perspective said:

Without opening up a political Pandora's Box, can anyone here offer up an explanation as to what prompted these changes?  In other words, and other than a private Christian school not being able to say a prayer over the loudspeaker before a playoff game, what happened that caused the lawmakers to feel that SB 225 was needed?

  Big shot, why don't you contact your local lawmaker and find out, Pinstripes?  

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12 hours ago, Jambun82 said:

  Big shot, why don't you contact your local lawmaker and find out, Pinstripes?  

Flag on the play!  Personal foul . . . using two different nicknames in the same sentence.   I can either be "Pinstripes" or a "Big shot," but not both in the same sentence.   15 yards from the spot of the foul and loss of down.    B)

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12 hours ago, Perspective said:

Flag on the play!  Personal foul . . . using two different nicknames in the same sentence.   I can either be "Pinstripes" or a "Big shot," but not both in the same sentence.   15 yards from the spot of the foul and loss of down.    B)

Incorrect PINSTRIPES-THE BIG SHOT, a personal foul is NOT a loss-of-down foul. That would be an unsportsmanlike-conduct foul anyway, not a personal foul, which is also not a loss-of-down foul, and cannot be penalized from the spot of the foul, since it is a dead-ball enforcement PINSTRIPES-THE BIG SHOT! Your education continues, and you're welcome for that, PINSTRIPES-THE BIG SHOT!   

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On 5/24/2023 at 9:25 AM, Perspective said:

Without opening up a political Pandora's Box, can anyone here offer up an explanation as to what prompted these changes?  In other words, and other than a private Christian school not being able to say a prayer over the loudspeaker before a playoff game, what happened that caused the lawmakers to feel that SB 225 was needed?

I would also prefer to remain neutral on the views one might have on this legislation, but to respond to your question the FHSAA was slow walking the process of complying with legislation passed regarding the intent of Title IX for women's sports.  Our state decided on the "Fairness" aspect we previously discussed by not allowing biological men identifying as women to compete against biological women.  Appears the FHSAA, like the NCAA and other bodies did not agree with this law in Florida and thus the friction.  Also during COVID (2020),  I understand there were some disagreements on when to restart HS sports for that calendar year and there might be some other issues like that including the prayer one you brought up.  Sounds like the current FHSAA Director is solid so I hope the new board keeps him in his current post. 

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Trying to avoid politics as well, I actually think HB 225 is secondary and corollary to HB 1, also known as "School Choice", which was signed into law in March.  HB 1 makes it possible for every school-age child in Florida to get a taxpayer-funded education voucher or savings account for expenses at a private school, charter school, or approved homeschooling nonprofit program.  HB 225 allows private school, charter school, virtual school, and home school students to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities at other public or private schools.  I think HB 225 was passed in part to remove any disincentives for parents to utilize the school voucher program to place their children in these types of schools ("I would like to use a voucher to send my son/daughter to XYZ Private/Charter school, but the school doesn't have sports and extracurricular activities for my children to participate in").  HB 225 removes that barrier, thus facilitating use of the school voucher program.  Other aspects of HB 225 just ensure that the people and policies are in place at the FHSAA to support the school choice initiative. 

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38 minutes ago, Dr. D said:

Trying to avoid politics as well, I actually think HB 225 is secondary and corollary to HB 1, also known as "School Choice", which was signed into law in March.  HB 1 makes it possible for every school-age child in Florida to get a taxpayer-funded education voucher or savings account for expenses at a private school, charter school, or approved homeschooling nonprofit program.  HB 225 allows private school, charter school, virtual school, and home school students to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities at other public or private schools.  I think HB 225 was passed in part to remove any disincentives for parents to utilize the school voucher program to place their children in these types of schools ("I would like to use a voucher to send my son/daughter to XYZ Private/Charter school, but the school doesn't have sports and extracurricular activities for my children to participate in").  HB 225 removes that barrier, thus facilitating use of the school voucher program.  Other aspects of HB 225 just ensure that the people and policies are in place at the FHSAA to support the school choice initiative. 

You are absolutely right in that component of "School Choice" where the sport of choice isn't part of the extracurricular offering.  That is very clear in the language affording that option to those who opt out of their local public school for any number of other alternatives.  Hopefully, competition for those students will elevate academics for all. 

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On 5/23/2023 at 6:24 PM, Perspective said:

Did I read the story correctly that IMG National team will now be able to compete for a FHSAA state title in football?   What classification would they be in?   Do they have to play by FHSAA rules or can they keep recruiting statewide/nationwide for talent?  

Based on what I've seen, as it stands now IMG would reside in 2S with Bayshore, Booker, DeSoto County and Lemon Bay.  That's assuming that IMG wants to participate in a statewide playoff system.

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rumor on the streets, as there was a board meeting for fhsaa the last few days, 

several countys are putting together ideas that would become "nightmare scenario" (the exact phrase I was told)---

school a is always good at basketball, but other county schools are just ok and some are terrible, push all those ok kids to school a and do away with basketball at all the other schools.

school b in same county is really good at football, but terrible at basketball.  other schools are ok to good, push all the good kids to school b and do away with football at rest of schools.

etc.

have powerhouse sport specific schools.

the district, regional, state series would become a complete waste of time as some school districts may only have a school or 2 that are playing specific sports....

nightmare indeed, if it becomes rampant across the state....

already underpaid teachers and coaches in the best sport state in the country, florida sports will become a complete joke if any of these ideas come to fruition. 

add in that ole Ron is making school start at 830 across the state in 3 years, now getting involved with athletics,  smh

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1 hour ago, h8r said:

rumor on the streets, as there was a board meeting for fhsaa the last few days, 

several countys are putting together ideas that would become "nightmare scenario" (the exact phrase I was told)---

school a is always good at basketball, but other county schools are just ok and some are terrible, push all those ok kids to school a and do away with basketball at all the other schools.

school b in same county is really good at football, but terrible at basketball.  other schools are ok to good, push all the good kids to school b and do away with football at rest of schools.

etc.

have powerhouse sport specific schools.

the district, regional, state series would become a complete waste of time as some school districts may only have a school or 2 that are playing specific sports....

nightmare indeed, if it becomes rampant across the state....

already underpaid teachers and coaches in the best sport state in the country, florida sports will become a complete joke if any of these ideas come to fruition. 

add in that ole Ron is making school start at 830 across the state in 3 years, now getting involved with athletics,  smh

Any county or school willing to punish their own students by entertaining a scheme like this just to throw a wrench in the system should be ashamed of themselves.   For example, in basketball you have maybe a dozen players on a team and if only one district team has a program it leaves dozens of kids out in the cold.  Seems evil to me. 

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1 hour ago, h8r said:

rumor on the streets, as there was a board meeting for fhsaa the last few days, 

several countys are putting together ideas that would become "nightmare scenario" (the exact phrase I was told)---

school a is always good at basketball, but other county schools are just ok and some are terrible, push all those ok kids to school a and do away with basketball at all the other schools.

school b in same county is really good at football, but terrible at basketball.  other schools are ok to good, push all the good kids to school b and do away with football at rest of schools.

etc.

have powerhouse sport specific schools.

the district, regional, state series would become a complete waste of time as some school districts may only have a school or 2 that are playing specific sports....

nightmare indeed, if it becomes rampant across the state....

already underpaid teachers and coaches in the best sport state in the country, florida sports will become a complete joke if any of these ideas come to fruition. 

add in that ole Ron is making school start at 830 across the state in 3 years, now getting involved with athletics,  smh

WOW.  It would be interesting to find out what counties are coming up with this?  It's one thing to be inept in a particular sport.  It's another to get rid of said sport completely and intentionally send talent to neighboring programs.  Again, if there are counties considering this why not leave the FHSAA.  Membership is optional for now, correct?  Sounds like a punk move.

 

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4 minutes ago, Ray Icaza said:

Any county or school willing to punish their own students by entertaining a scheme like this just to throw a wrench in the system should be ashamed of themselves.   For example, in basketball you have maybe a dozen players on a team and if only one district team has a program it leaves dozens of kids out in the cold.  Seems evil to me. 

Can we say, Lawsuits!  Program closures in any sport will leave some players out in the cold.  

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18 minutes ago, Nulli Secundus said:

Can we say, Lawsuits!  Program closures in any sport will leave some players out in the cold.  

As Dr. D correctly pointed out, the intent is to provide opportunity for extracurricular activity to those that don't have it.  Be it football, band, religious beliefs or the debate team.  Whether we have negative unintended consequences remains to be seen as well as what tweaks can be made to correct them.   The general concept of "School Choice" is embraced by the vast majority of parents, particularly in minority families with only a single Mom raising her kids. 

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