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The Road to Sanction

Sep 14, 2015 03:19PM ● By Bryan Scott

All athletes walk through these doors, but not everyone gets the credit they deserve.

By Kaleb Loftus

The Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) must have a large front porch for all the club sports to sit on, while they wait to have a chance to come inside and become a sanctioned sport.  

Since 2008, when girls soccer was sanctioned, no club sport has been able to burst the UHSAA bubble. UHSAA currently oversees 20 sports and three activities, but there are many more sports and clubs throughout the state that would appreciate some recognition. At the forefront of the talk are sports such as lacrosse, rodeo and rugby.

Many popular sports sit outside knocking on the door. Josh Taylor, the spokesman for UHSAA, says there are certain steps a club must take to become sanctioned. 

“Step one, the sport’s current governing body would make a presentation to the Athletic Director’s Executive Committee (ADEC),” Taylor said. 

Basically this is where the club sport comes to UHSAA and says, “Hey, we’re pretty popular, why don’t you sanction and oversee us, too?” And then UHSAA says, “Well, why should we?” And then the case is pleaded. 

“Step two, the ADEC would send a survey out to all schools in the UHSAA seeing if schools would/could support the program,” Taylor said.

This is the step where they ask the high schools to be the “jury.” From administrators to the athletic directors, everyone is involved in this step.  

“Step three, if there was enough support following the survey, ADEC would make a presentation to the UHSAA Executive Committee,” Taylor said. 

The little folks bring the case to the big folks and present everything they’ve come up with – if there is enough support for it, the finances and what the schools reported back.

“Step four, the UHSAA Executive Committee would vote to recommend the UHSAA sanction the sport or not,” Taylor said. 

And if they vote yes, then it goes to its final step.

“Step five, if yes, the Executive Committee would then present to the UHSAA Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees would consider the proposal in two meetings and vote to sanction the sport or not,” Taylor said.

Finally, if they vote yes, the sport becomes a part of the UHSAA and becomes sanctioned. 

Until these five steps are taken, club sports such as bowling, gymnastics and others will have to wait. The road to becoming sanctioned is not easy and is full of numbers. For now, the UHSAA will continue their self-moratorium of being sanction-free since 2008.