We are a group of Missouri anglers working with the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) to initiate bass fishing as a sanctioned activity in high schools throughout the state.
Fishing was one of the activities included on the MSHSAA annual questionnaire sent out last winter to its member schools. If the listed activities were to become sanctioned by MSHSAA, the organization wanted to know whether schools would register and participate. The survey revealed that 36 schools were interested in starting bass fishing as an activity. MSHSAA requires participation from 50 schools in order to hold a sanctioned state championship.
The group promoting high school fishing met the summer of 2009 with Dr. Kerwin Urhahn, MSHSAA executive director, who said the program would be a good one for the schools. However, he said it is up to the group to convince individual high school principals throughout the state to approve such a program.
MSHSAA was considering placing our proposal on the April ballot but the MSHSAA issued the following statement after a Feb. 2010 board meeting:
“The MSHSAA board of directors recognizes the many contributions and suggestions made by the advisory committees and member schools. However the board of directors is concerned by the current economic situation faced by all other member schools at this time. Because of this some of the items that were to be placed on the annual questionnaire have been withdrawn due to the additional cost that they may place on member schools. Those items will be revisited at a later date. Therefore any thing that had to do with expansion did not make the questionnaire or will not make the ballot this cycle.”
MSHSAA also stated that once the economy improves, our proposal will be placed directly on the annual ballot.
Next on the agenda for the group is to work with federated bass clubs to start junior clubs in the high schools.
Missouri anglers became interested in promoting the cause after neighboring Illinois became the first state to sanction bass fishing as a high school activity. Now more than 200 schools participate in the Illinois program.
Any clubs or schools interested in starting a junior federated club in their schools can call John Neporadny at 573/365-4296 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.