High-school 'free agency' bill keeps moving in the Florida House

April 9, 2013 

A contentious bill that would limit the power of the Florida High School Athletic Association continues to move in the House -- despite appearing to be dead in the Senate.

The proposal, from Rep. Larry Metz, R-Yalaha, would ease some of the restrictions on student transfers, and curtail the FHSAA's ability to investigate potential recruiting violations. It would also revamp the structure of the organization, which represents some 800 different schools in 32 different sports programs.

The FHSAA has fought against the bill, saying it would open the door to "high-school free agency."

The House version won the support of its third and final committee Tuesday, and is now headed for a vote on the House floor. But the Senate version, sponsored by Rep. Kelli Stargel, has yet to receive its first hearing, and many Senate committees have stopped meeting.

Is the House simply trying to make a statement? Or is there some behind-the-scenes maneuvering taking place to get this language heard in the Senate?

Metz wouldn't answer questions after the meeting Tuesday. But his legislative aide said Stargel was working on getting her bill heard in the upper chamber.

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