North Carolina High School Athletic Association commissioner Que Tucker said Wednesday that she believes her race and gender have been factors behind legislation seeking to dissolve the association and that she doesn’t see a path to a compromise with state senators.
As reported by the Greensboro News & Record, the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved HB 91, which would allow the NCHSAA to continue to operate with limitations for the 2021-22 school year before a newly formed and state government-appointed N.C. Interscholastic Athletic Commission takes its place. The legislature, through the State Board of Education, has the power to determine the governing body for North Carolina public high school athletics. House Bill 91 heads to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate.
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The NCHSAA has been entrusted with oversight of high school sports in the state for 110 years.
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“I believe that were I not female and African-American, the approach would have been a little different,” Tucker said during a one-on-one interview Wednesday at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center. “I can’t help but feel that because of the climate in which we live today, that as we prepare to celebrate 50 years of Title IX, that women in leadership positions still have a hard row to hoe. I believe that is part of — not the only thing and maybe not the majority – but it is a factor.”
Tucker was named NCHSAA commissioner in December 2015, after serving as its interim commissioner for five months. As reported by carolinajournal.com, she is the first woman and person of color to hold the position.
When asked by the News & Record if she a saw a path of negotiation with the bill's sponsors moving forward, Tucker said, "At this point, I believe that if that was what they wanted, they would have already said that we want to come over and sit down at your table or brought us over to them before they introduced this legislation and asked us how we could work together. That didn’t happen and I don’t see that path at all."
Questioned as to whether she would resign to save the NCSHAA, Tucker added, "Really and truly, if I thought that would work I would do it in a heartbeat. That’s how much I care about the association, my staff and the students across this state. I would do that, beyond the shadow of a doubt."
More highlights of Joe Sirera's interview with Tucker can be found here.