In a reaffirmation of its 77-year opposition to national high school sports championships, state representatives at the National Federation of State High School Associations' winter meetings defeated a proposed amendment that would have allowed the organization to conduct national championships in golf and cross country.
A total of 22 member state associations voted to allow the bylaw change, with 21 voting against it. But because a two-thirds majority - 34 states - is needed to change the by-law, the amendment failed. (Representatives from eight states were unable to attend the winter meetings, but their votes would not have affected the outcome.)
As part of the 2008-2011 NFHS Strategic Plan, the federation's staff was instructed to develop model national championships in several sports for consideration by its membership. After nationwide discussions last summer and fall, golf and cross country emerged as the two sports "that made the most sense in terms of logistics for actually being able to conduct a state championship," says John Gillis, one of the organization's assistant directors.
Since the federation's original declaration against national championships in 1934, the only other recorded vote by its membership against supporting or sanctioning national championships occurred in 1979, when proposed events in track and field, golf and tennis were shot down. "The continued opposition to national championships by our membership reaffirms the belief that state championship competition should be the culminating activity for high school student-athletes," says Bob Gardner, executive director of the NFHS.
Adds Gillis, "I know some people want to see a championship in certain sports, but I don't know if that's ever going to happen."