The Norman Transcript

Headlines

October 4, 2013

Interim study examines complaints, concerns about athletic association

Changes to OSSAA are likely

(Continued)

OKLAHOMA CITY —

Sheakley didn’t agree with Murphey’s assessment of the situation.

“One of the things we feel is that change from the organization needs to come from within the organization,” Sheakley said. “We were not afraid of the interim study at all. We welcomed it.”

Thursday was the first time Sheakley had the opportunity to respond to complaints leveled against the OSSAA in the first two days of the study.

Sheakley was not only asked about certain cases his organization has ruled on but also accounting procedures, lawyer fees, athletes’ eligibility, possible misappropriations of funds and how board members are chosen. It was a wide-ranging question and answer session that, at times, became heated.

“We have three principled objectives of the OSSAA,” Sheakley said. “No. 1, we want to make and enforce rules to ensure fair competition and a level playing field.

“No. 2, we want to maintain an appropriate balance between academics and activities so that one doesn’t overshadow the other.

“No. 3, we want to establish and preserve equitable participation and opportunities for all our students to participate in extra curricular activities. Transparency and inclusion are essential to the success of our organization.”

The Oklahoma Supreme Court warned in a 7-2 opinion Wednesday that the OSSAA will see tougher judicial scrutiny of their actions going forward. Shannon agreed.

“In a strongly worded statement by the Supreme Court, they say changes must occur,” Blackwell said. “And regardless of what occurs in your meeting next week, changes will occur to the OSSAA legislatively next session.

“You are given this priority, this privilege to oversee athletics. And you have been weighed in the balances and, I believe, found wanting not only by the embezzlement of a half million dollars that would have aided kids in their education but also in the treatment that we have heard from people before the OSSAA.”

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