Getty proposes restructure of state athletic association under Department of Education

ANNAPOLIS — State Sen. Joe Getty, a Republican who represents the 5th District (Carroll and Baltimore counties) has proposed a restructuring of the Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association in a move he said will "conform the association's processes to modern concepts of open meetings and public access to government."

Currently, the MPSSAA is responsible for the operation of interscholastic athletic programs in the public schools. But Getty said the association is not codified in Maryland statute, and its operations are not covered by Maryland's Open Meetings Law.

Getty said the issue came to light last fall, when Westminster High School was required to forfeit a football game for an infraction regarding an ineligible player.

During that incident, "I was surprised to learn that the MPSSAA conducts all of its meetings in secrecy," Getty said. "I believe that it is important that such an organization, which directly impacts so many Maryland students, athletes, parents and coaches, be required to conduct its operations in an open and transparent manner as any other public body."

Getty introduced Senate Bill 557, which would rename the MPSSAA as the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and make it a state agency within the State Department of Education.

As such, it would become a public body fully governed by the state's open meetings and public information statutes. The bill had its initial hearing this past week. 

"To have a private entity conduct these public functions in secrecy is an anachronism in modern government," Getty said. "This legislation would insure that the public has full access to the records, meetings, hearings and appeals of the body responsible for public school athletics in Maryland."

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