Staff reports

COLUMBIA — A House subcommittee unanimously advanced a bill Wednesday that would replace the S.C. High School League with a new division of the S.C. Dept. of Education.

The bill, H. 3329, next goes to the Education and Public Works committee, where members will have a chance to weigh in on the legislation.

The proposal, by state Rep. Joe Daning (R-Goose Creek), would establish a “Division of Interscholastic Athletics” to serve as the “sole governing body” for the state’s public schools. The bill calls for the director of the division to be appointed by the state superintendent of education.

The bill also sets up an independent 13-member appeals committee, and says that public schools that wish to participate in interscholastic athletics “may not contract with, join or otherwise associate with the South Carolina High School League.”

Daning’s bill is just one of three in the House and one in the Senate addressing the High School League, which came under fire last season after it banned Goose Creek’s football team from defending its state championship for using an allegedly ineligible player.

The High School League’s executive committee recently voted not to recommend rule changes proposed by Berkeley County officials in the wake of the Goose Creek situation. League members could still vote to adopt those changes in March.