From The Tribune staff reports
MONTGOMERY — The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board of Control approved returning $2.1 million to its member schools under its Revenue Sharing Plan Wednesday at its annual summer Central Board meeting held at the AHSAA office. Including the $1.7 million distributed last May for the 2019-20 school year, which had been put on hold during the COVID-19 Pandemic, the AHSAA revenue share will total a record $3.8 million for member schools this year once the 2020-21 distribution is completed this fall.
“This is can be directly attributed to the strong leadership of the Central Board and Mr. Steve Savarese,” said AHSAA Executive Director Alvin Briggs, who replaced Savarese as executive director on July 1. Savarese retired as the AHSAA’s fourth full-time executive director after 14 years as the association’s leader. Kim Vickers also attended her first Central Board meeting after being promoted to Associate Executive Director.
“Considering all the challenges our schools had concerning COVID as well as attendance restrictions for the fall and winter sports championships, this is a remarkable achievement and big boost to our member schools financially.”
The action was taken Wednesday at its annual summer meeting in Montgomery.
The Central Board of Control also approved waiving membership dues for member schools for the 30th straight year – a cost savings of $90,500 for its member high schools, middle and junior schools for the upcoming 2021-22 school year. The schools have had approximately $2.4 million in savings since the Central Board waived the dues for the first time in 1991-92.
The Central Board also voted to reinstate all rules and regulations regarding contest forfeiture that were in place prior to the 2020-21 school year. Last year, schools were not assessed fines or penalties if school superintendents determined teams could not play a contest due to COVID concerns.
“We will be moving back to normalcy this year,” said Central Board president Van Phillips, principal at Center Point High School in Jefferson County. However, the AHSAA will continue to work closely with the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Alabama State Department of Education and ask member schools to continue the health and safety guidelines they have in place and to follow any local health and safety ordinances that might be in place.
The Central Board welcomed several new members with seven total that were not on the board last July. Sworn in as incoming board members were: Trinnia Smith, teacher and coach, Jackson High School (female at-large); Jeff Torrence, principal, Faine STEM School, Dothan City Schools (Bi-District 1-2); Quentin Lee, Talladega City Schools superintendent (Bi-District 5-6); Holly Sutherland, Haleyville City Schools superintendent (female at-large); Demond Garth, Austin High School principal (Bi-District 7-8). Terry Roller joined the Central Board last April as the representative from the Alabama State Department of Education, and Brian Jett, Superintendent of Fort Payne City Schools, replaced District 8 representative Keith Bender of Oneonta last winter. Bender, who was serving as board president at the time, retired at mid-term.
Luke Hallmark, superintendent of Marengo County Schools, began his 16th year on the Central Board with Wednesday’s meeting, and Mike Welsh, superintendent of Cherokee County Schools, began his 13th year. Other members of the 2021-2022 Central Board include: Van Phillips, Center Point High School principal (president); Farrell Seymore, Opelika High School principal (vice-president); Terry Curtis, UMS-Wright head football coach and athletic director; Trent Taylor, Andalusia High School head football coach and athletic director; Pam Holloway, Dadeville assistant principal; and Jamie Chapman, superintendent of Pickens County Schools.
“We have a very diverse Central Board,” said Briggs. “It includes six school superintendents, four principals, three coaches, one assistant principal, and one representative from the State Department of Education. We are very blessed.”
The Revenue Share Plan, approved first by the Central Board in 2009, will have returned $19.2 million overall to its member schools once the current allocation is distributed. The plan returns excess funds back to the schools when the AHSAA has at least one year’s working capital in reserve.
In other Central Board action, it approved sports’ committee recommendations for track to keep the indoor track format used last winter running the state meet competition for each classification in separate sessions. It also approved the top 16 qualifiers for the state competition with qualifying times only coming from AHSAA or NFHS-approved meet competition.
In tennis, the board approved a plan to use the UTR (universal tennis ranking) to seed at the sectional and state meet. All schools will need to use the UTR throughout the 2022 season and beginning it will become mandatory for the 2022-2023 championships.
In softball, the board approved the AHSAA to set default dates for area tournament play if schools in an area cannot agree, and in soccer, the semifinal match schedule for the state championships will rotate in the future.
The Central Board also reviewed and approved 2021-2022 publications, including the AHSAA Handbook and AHSAA Sports Book. The Legislative Council also met and approved the AHSAA publications Wednesday afternoon and heard a review of the Central Board’s action.
In other Central Board action:
• Approved the financial reports for the spring regional and state championships in soccer, softball, baseball and track.
• Approved drafts of the 2021-2022 budgets for the AHSAA and the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) and the 2020-2021 audits for each group.
• Approved the classification process for 2021-2022.
• Approved the AHSAA insurance coverages.
• Heard an update report on the AHSAA hosting the NFHS Section 3 meeting at Gulf Shores in September of 2022.