Lawmakers seeking OSSAA financial records
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Friday, December 07, 2012
12/07/12 at 3:54 AM
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Two state lawmakers called for the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association to open its financial records Thursday and comply with the Open Meetings Act and Public Records Act.
State representatives Richard Morrissette (D-Oklahoma City) and Bobby Cleveland (R-Slaughterville) were upset by the OSSAA's refusal to allow two Oklahoma City-area football teams to compete as independents in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.
During Wednesday's monthly meeting in Oklahoma City, the OSSAA's board of directors denied the requests by OKC U.S. Grant and Capitol Hill by an 8-5 vote.
The lawmakers also claimed in a release that a request by Cleveland for financial disclosure was denied.
That allegation is untrue, OSSAA executive director Ed Sheakley said in his own media release.
"OSSAA has not received, and therefore has not refused, any request for any financial records from these state legislators," Sheakley said.
He said a man unknown to OSSAA staff asked for minutes of the meeting and was told they were not yet available because the meeting was still in progress. Sheakley said the man did not identify himself, or say why he wanted to obtain a copy of the minutes.
Reached by phone Thursday, Cleveland said he was not seeking the minutes of the meeting in progress, but of "any" meeting. He admitted not identifying himself as a state representative and said he shouldn't have to because the information he was seeking should be available to the public.
Cleveland said he also requested to see the financial report for Wednesday's meeting and was told by an OSSAA staff member that "we do not let the public see financial reports, those are for board members only."
Cleveland, who identified himself as a Capitol Hill graduate, said the OSSAA doesn't care about helping kids or it would have granted the request by Grant and Capitol Hill to take a two-year hiatus from district competition.
Neither school has had a winning football team in years, and both are struggling with low numbers and may have to drop the sport altogether, OKC athletic director Keith Sinor told the board.
Grant went 1-9 at the Class 6A level in 2012, getting outscored 492-24. Its only win was over Capitol Hill, which went 0-10 at the 5A level, getting outscored 480-44. Grant finished 2012 with 28 athletes and Capitol Hill finished with 24, Sinor said.
The schools sought an exception from the rule that says a member school may not participate as an independent in one sport without competing as an independent in all sports for a two-year period.
"The fear you have is that schools would become selective," said Gil Cloud, athletic director of the Tulsa Public Schools. "You might say, 'We're not going to be competitive in baseball for the next two years, so let's go independent in that sport.' It's not something we'd support. We think our students, coaches and parents are better served by staying member schools and working to make things better."
Original Print Headline: Lawmakers seeking OSSAA financial records
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Ed Sheakley: He says the OSSAA has not received a request for financial records from state legislators