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House bills regarding MSHSAA move forward

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Two bills are making their way to the House floor addressing the Missouri State High School Athletics Association (MSHSAA), one being scheduled for committee Monday and the other being shopped by its sponsor for support.

HB 232, sponsored by relentless home school student defender Rep. Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, would allow home school students to participate in MSHSAA activities for the public school district in which they reside. The bill is being heard in the House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education at 1:30 p.m. Monday. Haahr filed the same bill in 2014

The bill requires the home schooled student to be certified as passing  in each course for participation and would disallow MSHAA from prohibiting home school involvement in activities. The students are subject to the sale rules and regulations of the activities, however, if the student was previously enrolled in public school during the school year, they will not be allowed to participate during the remainder of the school year.

A second bill is being shopping to colleagues by Rep. Dan Shaul, R-Imperial. Shaul, a school board member, has had rising concerns regarding MSHSAA oversight and filed HB 991, which would specify power of the state auditor to audit statewide athletics associations and adds an athletics or activities association to the “public governmental body” definition in the Sunshine Law. The bill has not yet been assigned to a committee, but Shaul is hoping to see his concerns alleviated soon.


After all, says Shaul, MSHSAA should have nothing to hide.

“Sitting on a school board, I see the payments we give to MSHSAA and I question if there is anything else we can do with the money, any place else we can go with the money,” Shaul said. “What are we getting for our money? There’s not option other than to go to MSHSAA.”

But, Shaul’s concern is not just from a school board perspective.

“First thing, from a taxpayer perspective, money that is going to support schools ends up with MSHSAA,” Shaul said. “I want to make sure that MSHSAA is spending that money in a beneficial manner for our student athletes. They should be held to the same transparency and ethical review of a school board and state government is held to, as well.”

Shaul isn’t sure how far the bill will go, but said his House colleagues have given positive feedback. He also hasn’t heard from MSHSAA.

Then-Rep. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, was the last representative to take on MSHSAA. In 2011, Schaaf filed a bill to require school boards to work with the Brain Injury Association of Missouri and Missouri State High School Activities Association to develop guidelines on youth athlete concussions and brain injuries, but the bill did not make it out of committee.