Contact information: Doug Konkel - click to e-mail
Sports Monthly Exclusive
Governor Says Georgia High School Association Should Be Free Of Political Interference
ATLANTA - How important is high school team sports in developing tomorrow's leaders? It is the ideal foundation and should be accomplished with minimal legislative interference, according to Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue in the copyrighted cover story of the April issue of Georgia Sports Monthly (GSM).
Gov. Perdue, a 1965 graduate of Warner Robins High School where he starred at quarterback his junior and senior years, goes into detail about why such independent state high school associations as the GHSA should be hands off as far as politicians are concerned.
In the current (Georgia) legislative session, there have been several pieces of legislation introduced involving high school sports. These issues, according to the governor, are the responsibility of the Georgia High School Association, an autonomous body, founded in 1904 to - among other things - "promote education in Georgia…standardize and encourage participation in athletics, and promote sportsmanship and an appreciation for and study of music, speech, and other fine arts through Region and State competitions."
New Jersey's Legislature recently came under fire, too, for "interfering with its state high school athletic association, its membership fees and ticket prices to some state playoff events."
"I feel the same way about government getting involved in high school sports about the same way I feel about government getting involved in the Internet: Frankly its done pretty well on its own," Gov. Perdue says. "I don't believe that the legislature needs to be mandating whether a game ends in a tie or not. It's not that I like ties; I think there ought to be a winner, but I think that we ought to allow the GHSA to deal with its rules in a way that it feels it should be determined."
Gov. Perdue says, "It can get pretty intense and pretty competitive and sometimes passions flare (in the GHSA). It's not a job where you can satisfy everyone all the time, with scheduling and dividing regions and those sorts of things. There's a lot of politics in all that, but I think overall it's been done well.
"It's one of those entities that thrives by itself and doesn't need a lot of help. I think the Georgia High School Association does a great job."
GSM's cover story was written by editor Doug Konkel following an in-depth interview. "The governor was very forthright in his conviction that matters involving scholastic sports should be left to the people who understand them the best - the coaches and administrators of the GHSA."
According to Konkel, "There is no question, Gov. Perdue has a great interest in Georgia's students and the opportunities they receive by participating."
Gov. Perdue went on to the University of Georgia where he received a doctorate in veterinary medicine, became a captain in the United States Air Force where he served as a flight instructor, and is Georgia's first Republican governor since Reconstruction.Georgia Sports Monthly and GaSports.com are operated by SportsIQ, LLC. Georgia Sports Monthly is the state's premiere magazine for high school sports. Issues of Georgia Sports Monthly can be purchased at GaSports.com or picked up at one of the more than 300 retail locations that distribute the magazine. GaSports.com has more than 100,000 unique visitors per month who rely on the Web site for high school scores, schedules and playoff information.