Bill Summary for S 636 (2023-2024)

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Summary date: 

Apr 6 2023

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2023-2024 Session
Senate Bill 636 (Public) Filed Wednesday, April 5, 2023
Intro. by Sawyer, Johnson, McInnis.

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Bill summary

Part I

Makes organizational changes to Article 29E of GS Chapter 115C by dividing it into multiple parts: definitions (Part 1), Oversight of Interscholastic Athletic Activities (Part 2), Memorandum of Understanding (Part 3).

Amends GS 115C-407.55 (pertaining to the rules for High School Interscholastic Athletic Activities) as follows. Prevents the State Board of Education (Board) from delegating the adoption of the student participation rules (Rules), health and safety rules, appeals rules, fees rules, reporting rules, and administering organization rules to an administering organization. Adds the following required provisions to the Rules.

Rules governing student participation must include enrollment and transfer requirements that include the following. (1) A student who is not domiciled in a local school administrative unit but enrolls in that unit cannot be eligible to participate in interscholastic athletic activities in that unit if the student's enrollment in that unit is solely for athletic participation purposes. A student determined to be ineligible under this provision will be ineligible to participate in postseason play for one year following discovery of the violation. (2) A student who receives priority enrollment as the child of a full-time employee of a charter school cannot be eligible to participate in interscholastic athletics for that charter school if the Office of Charter Schools determines that the parent's enrollment was a fraudulent basis for the student's priority enrollment. A student determined to be ineligible under this provision will be ineligible to participate in postseason play for one year following discovery of the violation.

Adds the following biological participation requirements to the rules governing student participation. The rule shall require at least the following. (1) Interscholastic teams or sports must be designated as one of the following based on biological sex: (i) males, men, or boys, (ii) females, women, or girls or (iii) coed or mixed. (2) Interscholastic athletic activities designated for females, women, or girls are not open to students of the male sex. (3) Sex is recognized based solely on a person's reproductive biology and genetics at birth.

Specifies that the penalty rules only apply to infractions for violation of student participation and gameplay rules. Specifies that violations cannot result in monetary penalties of any kind.

Specifies that the appeals rules have to provide due process to parents, students and participating schools for enforcement of the rule at issue. Specifies that the entity receiving the penalty must be given an opportunity to be heard before the appeals’ board. Provides that a student and that student's parent must be allowed to appeal a penalty resulting from the application of any rule that restricts an individual student from participating in a season, game, or series of games, and must be provided a written copy of the rule that is the basis for the penalty.

Requires administrative rules to require the following. (1) Classification of all participating schools in the State into one of four athletic divisions based solely on average daily membership. For charter or nonpublic schools, the rules must classify those schools into the next largest conference than the school would be assigned to based solely on average daily membership. (2) Classification of all participating schools in the State into conferences based solely on geography, division classification, and average daily membership.

Amends the reporting rules to require a process for reporting intimidation or harassment of the participating school or its employees or students by an administering organization, in addition to other matters provided in the section.

Amends GS 115C-407.60 (administration and enforcement of high school interscholastic athletic activity rules), as follows. Substitutes the Superintendent of the Public Instruction (Superintendent) as the entity authorized to enter into MOU’s with nonprofits to enforce Article 29E. Specifies that all MOU’s have to include the requirements set forth in new GS 115C-407.61. Specifies that an administering organization is a public body for purposes of State public meetings law.   

Enacts GS 115C-407.61 which specifies the required contents of the MOU’s discussed above. Requires contracting nonprofit administrator to publish and provide for notice and comment for any rules it drafts pursuant to any rulemaking authority delegated to it by the Board and sets forth a process for rule adoption. Requires the nonprofit to make certain materials available on its website at no cost. Sets forth requirements pertaining to board membership, adoption of an ethics policy, procedures relating to public records and student records, entering into certain contracts with participating schools, reduction of annual fees by certain amounts, retention of a certain amount of net tournament proceeds, annual audits, refrain from certain listed activities, and annual reports on specified matters. Authorizes the Superintendent to terminate any MOU for noncompliance with Article 29E or the terms of the MOU. In the event of termination, the nonprofit organization must return to each participating school a pro rata share of the funds paid by that school for the year as provided in the participating school's contract with the organization.

Makes conforming changes to GS 115C-407.65 (pertaining to the conduct of high school interscholastic athletic activities by public school units). Enacts GS 115C-407.70 (pertaining to middle school interscholastic athletic activities) requiring the Board to adopt the same student participation, student health and safety rules, penalty rules, appeals rules, administrative rules, gameplay rules, fee rules, and reporting rules that apply to high school interscholastic activities. Requires administration of those rules by the superintendent. Requires public school units that participate in middle school interscholastic athletics to abide by those rules. Organizes these two statutory provisions into Part 4 of the Article.

Enacts new Part 5, pertaining to public school unit reports. Sets forth annual reporting requirements to the Superintendent and Board by public school units with one or more participating schools in interscholastic activities. Requires the Superintendent to provide a summary of the reports and each individual school unit report to the specified NCGA committee by no later than October 15 annually.  Amends GS 143-318.10 to include the nonprofit administering entities as entities whose meetings must be open to the public under the open meetings act, makes organizational changes.

Applies beginning with the 2023-2024 school year and thereafter.

Part II

Amends GS 115C-12(23) (pertaining to the power of the Board to adopt rules pertaining to interscholastic activities) to delete requirements relating to concussions and emergency action plans.  Recodifies those provisions into new GS 115C-407.57 (rules on concussions and head injuries) and new GS 115C-407.58 (emergency action plans).

Applies beginning with the 2023-2024 school year and thereafter.

Part III

Requires the Board to review and adopt new or revised emergency rules on interscholastic athletics for use in the 2023-2024 school year in accordance with the requirements of the act, by no later than August 1, 2023. Specifies that findings of need are not required for an emergency rule adopted for the 2023-2024 school year. Specifies that an emergency rule will be effective until June 30, 2024. Specifies that the Board will not be required to adopt temporary rules to replace an emergency rule for use in the 2023-2024 school year. Specifies submission requirements of emergency rules

Requires the Board to adopt new or revised permanent rules for use beginning with the 2024-2025 school year and thereafter.

Requires the Superintendent, in consultation with any administering organization, to study and make findings to the specified NCGA committee by April 1, 2024 on (1) whether an administering organization should be responsible for overseeing the conduct of middle school interscholastic athletics for public school units and (2) factors that should be considered in (i) home school students' participation in interscholastic athletics, including how to address insurance and liability issues for those students while participating in interscholastic athletics, cooperative innovative high school students' participation in interscholastic athletics, and (ii) nonpublic schools. Requires the Superintendent to set up workgroups.   

Requires all public school units to submit the first annual interscholastic athletic report to the Superintendent and the Board by no later than July 15, 2024, and must include data from the 2019-2020, 2020-2021, 2021-2022, 2022-2023, and 2023-2024 school years.