June 17, 1916: State Athletic Association Organized
On June 17, 1916, the West Virginia High School Athletic Association was organized in Charleston. The 11 charter members were Bluefield’s Beaver High School, Clarksburg’s Washington Irving High School, and Charleston, Elkins, Fairmont, Grafton, Huntington, Parkersburg, St. Marys, Sistersville, and Wheeling high schools.
The association gave high schools more control over their athletic activities. Previously, high school events had been organized by outside groups with little attention to rules, regulations, or eligibility requirements. Selected principals of member schools served as officers of the association.
In 1955, the organization changed its name to the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission. In 1967, the West Virginia Legislature recognized the SSAC, as it’s known, as a legal arm of county school boards.
Today, the SSAC makes rules and regulations governing its members’ interscholastic athletic and band activities. It sponsors state championships in basketball, track and field, baseball, football, wrestling, golf, tennis, cross-country, volleyball, softball, cheerleading, soccer, and swimming. The SSAC also holds clinics for coaches and officials; sets performance requirements for officials; presides over regional band festivals; maintains sportsmanship ratings for member schools; and administers academic achievement awards and scholarships.