The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board of Control approved returning $1.6 million to its member schools under its Revenue Sharing Plan. The amount is the largest in the six years since the revenue sharing program was instituted.
The action was taken Wednesday at its annual summer meeting in Montgomery. The Central Board also approved some recommended changes in the AHSAA Amateur Rule, and also approved a dual wrestling tournament for member schools beginning the 2016-17 school year. The Central Board also approved the 2015-16 AHSAA Handbook, 2015 Fall Sports Book, 2016 Winter Sports Book and the 2016 Spring Sports Book publications.
The AHSAA Legislative Council also met Wednesday, heard a review of the Central Board's actions and also approved the publications for 2015-16.
The Revenue Sharing Plan, approved first by the Central Board in 2009, has returned $8.0 million to its member schools in six years, counting 2014-15 total. The $1.6 million total is up $200,000 from 2013-14 and is the highest payout in the history of the revenue share program.
The formula for the distribution of funds includes a differential between classifications and the number of sports played by non-football-playing schools. The plan returns excess funds back to the schools when the AHSAA has at least one year's working capital in reserve.
"I want to thank the Central Board for its strong leadership," said Executive Director Steve Savarese. "Returning $1.6 million to our schools is certainly important to the financial well-being of our schools. The Central Board also waved membership dues for the upcoming school year, a savings to our membership of approximately $83,000."
The membership dues have been waved for 23 straight years resulting in an overall savings for member schools of approximately $1.9 million.
The AHSAA Amateur Rule changes, which go into effect for the 2015-16 school year, included raising the monetary value of an award given to a student athlete from $50 to $250. Acceptance of awards exceeding these limitations shall disqualify a student. The $50 limit has been the guideline for more than 30 years. The language also will now include "camp" and not just contest or game as previously stated. The new language also states gift cards for athletic performances or participation may not be given.
The Central Board also approved changes to Rule III, Section 21, Camps, found on pages 45-46 of the 2014-15 AHSAA Handbook. Following the first note, that remains the same about outside participation during the sports season, a second note will now state: College tryouts are permissible during the sports season if pre-approved by the principal and head coach and no contest is missed.
At the request of the Wrestling Committee, the Central Board approved, beginning in 2016-17, a Duals Wrestling Tournament with teams qualifying through section play for the one-week tourney held prior to the regular state wrestling post-season section meets.
In other Central Board action:
– Approved the financial reports for the spring championships in soccer, softball, baseball and track.
– Approved the 2015-16 budgets for the AHSAA and the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association and the 2014-15 audits for each group.
– Heard an eligibility appeal from Oak Mountain High School, upheld the Executive Director's ruling and accepted the school's self-imposed sanctions.
– Approved Bowling Championship adjustments/alignments which became necessary due to the growing number of schools that have declared the new sport for 2015-16.
– Tabled a recommendation to change the current rotating brackets for all applicable sports beginning with the 2016-17 year. The Central Board asked for more information and will consider the recommendation at its October meeting.
– Heard updates on the catastrophic insurance and other AHSAA insurance coverages
– Welcomed new board member Hal Riddle of Trussville City Schools from District 5. He replaces Terry Cooper of Mountain Brook, who has retired.
– Outgoing Central Board president Lamar Brooks from Dale County (District 2) was recognized with a plaque of appreciation. He remains on the Central Board, and Mike Welsh of Spring Garden (District 6) opened the meeting as the new Central Board president.