The FHSAA, in conjunction with former NFL players Mike Alstott and Reidel Anthony, held a 38-minute teleconference Tuesday in which they said House Bill 1279 and Senate Bill 1164 would create high school free agency and lessen the FHSAA’s power to prohibit mid-season transfers for athletics.
The bills were brought forward by Rep. Larry Metz, R-Yalaha, and Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, and call for less power for the FHSAA to investigate student-athlete transfers, lower the amount of fines and fees member schools pay and change the makeup of the association’s board.
Alstott, a former Tampa Bay Buccaneers fullback and now the head coach at Northside Christian High School, said high school sports aren’t the level where recruiting and free agency should come into play.
“There is a place for free agency; it’s called the NFL. And there is a place for recruiting; it’s called college.”
Fort Myers head football coach Sam Sirianni Jr. said he saw this day coming but isn’t a fan of allowing kids to jump from school to school without a centralized governing body, the FHSAA.
“As an old school person, as naive as it may sound, I believe high school sports are a privilege and not a right,” Sirianni said. “I believe you have to have a governing central body to try and keep a level playing field.”
Anthony, a former Buccaneers wide receiver and now the offensive coordinator at Glades Central High School, felt the proposals would hurt hometown schools’ pride and affect the loyalty of student-athletes to their schools.
“It’s hard enough for top players to keep a level head when the colleges come calling. It will be almost impossible for younger kids to resist that attention from other high schools,” said Anthony.