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COLUMN: S.D. high school sports to benefit from Senate Bill 90

Sports are filled with unwritten rules. In baseball, you’re not supposed to talk to a pitcher while he has a no-hitter going. In basketball, you don’t shoot as the time expires when you are already winning. And in football, you are supposed to take a knee in the final minute of the game.

Since I’ve been alive, I have realized South Dakota high school sports have one unwritten rule. To be a certified fan, parent or player you must accept one creed:

Thou shalt have beef against the S.D. High School Activities Association once in life.

Whether it’s sanctioning soccer or moving high school tournaments or changing football class systems, the SDHSAA has never been completely in the clear. (At least, they haven’t since I’ve remembered.)

But the state of South Dakota is now taking action to open the SDHSAA to sports fans, parents, school districts and the general public.

If passed through the full S.D. Legislature and signed by Governor Dennis Daugaard, Senate Bill 90 will force the SDHSAA to comply with “all open meeting and open record laws in this state.” Public minutes and notes will be available to all, more than likely on the SDHSAA website.

Over the years, some of the biggest discussions surrounding the SDHSAA centered around the biggest sports on the biggest stages.

Argus Leader’s Stu Whitney has written multiple times about the value of state tournaments in Sioux Falls. Higher profits of volleyball state tournaments and basketball state tournaments often possess one common denominator: Sioux Falls.

But despite where the money was, no change to the state tournaments’ locations or rotations have been made.

Same can be true for soccer, where many school districts weren’t ready to add soccer in the midst of a frail economy. Meanwhile, the SDHSAA hid mostly behind closed doors and unopened public records, leaving the public to rely on their local schools for information.

Now, SB 90 doesn’t mean Little Susy will suddenly see her high school immediately adopt soccer as a sports because meeting records will be open to the public, but the problems and poor communication from the SDHSAA could be a thing of the past.

S.D. Newspaper Association David Bordewyk said SB 90 is a hot topic that’s greased up and ready to fly through the legislature.

He said people were angry about the SDHSAA, citing things like the reclassification of schools for football and the growing debate of state tournament hosts as helpers. What usually happens over the course of a few years and a few failures looks be brought forward, completed and out the door in a matter of months.