The Secondary School Activities Commission, known as the SSAC, governs athletic competition among West Virginia secondary schools. The organization traces its origins to the early 20th century, when the West Virginia High School Athletic Association was organized at Charleston on June 17, 1916. The 11 charter members were Bluefield’s Beaver High School, Charleston, Clarksburg’s Washington Irving High School, Elkins, Fairmont, Grafton, Huntington, Parkersburg, St. Marys, Sistersville, and Wheeling. The name of the organization was changed to the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission in 1955. In 1967, the West Virginia legislature recognized the SSAC as a legal entity, an arm of the county school boards. It is authorized by law to make rules and regulations governing the interscholastic athletic and band activities of its members.
The original Athletic Association was organized to allow high schools to take a more active role in the control of athletic activities. Previously high school contests had been organized by club or other promoters with little attention to rules, regulations, or requirements such as eligibility to play. The new organization was a state association to be controlled by the schools. The officers, designated as the Board of Appeals, were to be selected from among the principals of the member schools. The organization grew rapidly and the responsibilities of the officers (especially those of the secretary-treasurer) became burdensome. In 1946, a full-time executive secretary was appointed by the board.
The primary objectives of the SSAC include standardization of requirements and regulations governing eligibility; providing the means for settlement of disputes between schools; and promoting the ideals of sportsmanship for all participants. The SSAC sponsors state championships in 13 sports: basketball, track and field, baseball, football, wrestling, golf, tennis, cross-country, volleyball, softball, cheerleading, soccer, and swimming. The commission also conducts clinics for coaches and officials; sets requirements for the performance of officials; presides over regional band festivals; maintains sportsmanship ratings for its member schools; and administers a program of academic achievement awards and scholarships.
This Article was written by Tim L. Wyatt
Last Revised on March 27, 2013
Secondary School Activities Commission. Rules & Regulations Handbook. 1998.
Carter, Warren, WVSSAC Executive Secretary. Interview by author. 4/7/1999.