Chris Schulz Published

Legislators Hear About Changes To State’s Sports Commission Rules

A soccer player readies to kick a ball across the field.
Legislators reviewed changes to the state's rules and regulations governing the Secondary School Activities Commission.
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During their interim meeting at Marshall University Sunday, the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability heard about several changes to rules and regulations governing the Secondary School Activities Commission (SSAC).

Changes included a significant increase in the number of out-of-season activity days allowed for coaches to work with players, from 12 to 32 days, as well as changes to how suspensions after an ejection from a game are calculated. 

Hank Hager, counsel to the Senate Education Committee, explained that suspensions would now be 10 percent of the season, regardless of when the infraction occurs. For sports like baseball and basketball that play the state maximum of 32 games, that would mean a three game suspension.

“I don’t necessarily want to condone the activity that gets somebody suspended, but at the same time I understand there’s emotion involved in sports,” said Sen. Mike Oliverio, R-Monongalia. “That seems excessive to me, three games.”

Cindy Daniel, West Virginia SSAC assistant executive director, pointed out that there is a process in place for schools to appeal suspensions resulting from ejections. 

Oliverio suggested that the West Virginia Legislature may change the suspension rule in a future session.

Among the changes are an expansion to student eligibility, including the implementation of recently passed House Bill 2820, which creates a pathway for Hope Scholarship recipients to play SSAC sports.