March 05, 2008

The Other side of the tracks.: High school athletic departments are getting contentious enough to propose that private schools compete in a separate league.

posted by lilnemo to culture at 03:35 PM - 13 comments

I can understand why the atheletic departments from public schools would push for this sort of thing. Around here we have both public schools and private schools and often times you can find private schools doing quite well in state tournaments for any sport. Sometimes, but not always, private schools have their own leagues for the regular season. This is especially true for catholic schools who have their own catholic league. However, once they reach the state tournament there is no division between private and public. Obviously private schools, especially those who are established atheletic powers, are going to at least have a better chance at success than public schools. While public schools can only draw their talent from their respective school districts, private schools can take anybody who is willing to pony up the money. I believe (although I am not positive) that private schools can also give scholarships which can further entice atheletes to leave their "home district" for their school. We've lost a few players to private schools, including one who is a very talented football player. There is different reasoning behind every decision, but one of the common reasons is simply the private school offers a better chance to succeed and possibly move on to playing in college. All of that said I can't say I agree with the idea of seperating public and private school playoffs. For one, it detracts from the level of competition. While some private schools are traditionally powerhouses there are many public schools that can go toe to toe with them. Plus, "public school state champions" does not have the same ring as "Michigan state champions." Finally, it is always nice to see a public school defeat one of the traditional private school powerhouses, whether it be in the regular season of in the playoffs.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 06:22 PM on March 05

Wow, this makes me feel a little beter, having suffered from going to a 220 person Catholic high school and getting crushed by every public school that cared to play us in most anything but rich kid sports (e.g., hockey, lacrosse). It's strange to me small prep schools in the Northeast have plenty of leagues to belong to but a big state like California has an open system. I suppose the sheer number of kids in all the schools completely changes the dynamic.

posted by yerfatma at 06:38 PM on March 05

One could always argue that with a larger pool of talent to draw from, that public schools should always be competitive. But with the money private schools are able to put into facilities, equipment, and coaching staffs its hard to see why a kid with the option to go to private school wouldn't. Having said that, I'm against the proposal to have seperate leagues. While better funding may give private schools the edge, I don't see how a School Administrator can look their students in the eye and say they aren't good enough to compete with another school.

posted by lilnemo at 06:58 PM on March 05

As with most things, it depends. I went to a Catholic high school in Atlanta when the x1.5 multiplier was instituted due to our "recruiting." It moved us, a school of 950 students, into a classification of 2000+ student high schools. Fun times. Now, I live in Minnesota where athletes freely hop from public school to public school in the Twin Cities, basically creating super basketball/baseball/football squads. Now, rules are being created to prevent this basically using the NCAA year requiring transfers to sit out a year, even though it screws over legitimate high school transfers.

posted by jmd82 at 10:33 PM on March 05

I went to public schools, and there was nothing I liked better than playing private schools and winning (we're talking soccer/football here). They might have had all the best equipment, better uniforms and great playing fields - but on the pitch it was eleven against eleven. There is no war but the class war.

posted by owlhouse at 11:10 PM on March 05

"That's alright/ That's ok/ You'll be working/ For us some day." God, we were awful.

posted by yerfatma at 07:00 AM on March 06

"private" vs. "public" is too simplistic. You've got the Christ the Kings and prestigious preps that offer scholarships to promising athletes, and you've got the (much more common) parochial schools that are just squeaking by and barely have a gym, much less a new all-weather track like my shoddy little regional public high school (interesting story where the money came from for that). I don't think there's an effective way of regulating this problem away -- as long as schools of whatever flavor forget their main mission, this kind of thing will happen.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:26 AM on March 06

Oh, how we used to look forward to playing Pensacola Catholic. Our first-stringers were half-asleep by the third quarter, and everybody on the team probably got in for at least one play. My senior year, our fullback, who carried the ball four times that year, got all four carries against P.C.H.S. His line: 4 carries, 80-ish yards, 4 TD.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 09:51 AM on March 06

From the flip side of the article, I went to a catholic school with 500 students, and a varsity football team of 35 players. It consisted of all grades (Freshman-Seniors). Most of the juniors and seniors didn't come off the field. We got our asses handed to us every week, by both other catholic schools and some public schools. There were only a few catholic "powerhouses" in my area - the rich schools - but even they were given a good fight by the publics. We went 1-9 my senior year. Woo Hoo.

posted by BoKnows at 10:12 AM on March 06

I went to a catholic school in Cincinnati, Moeller High School, that won something like 3 (mythical) national championships in the 80's (Jerry Faust was tertiary to only God and his supposed son there.) Because of this success, the Cincinnati Archdiocese became the only Marionist Archdiocese in the country to have school districts. The school has won some state championships since then, but is nowhere near the powerhouse it once was. The Jesuit schools (Saint Xavier, most notably) don't have districts, so have pretty consistently outdrawn their Marionist counterparts for the talent pool. A few of the publics have become consistent competitors, as well. If you look real, real, hard at that, there might be a point, I'm not sure.

posted by tahoemoj at 12:02 PM on March 06

In Mountain View there are St. Francis and Mountain View High; the former is usually a top 20 team in any sport, male or female, in the San Jose Mercury News ratings and often competitive at the state level, where the latter is lucky to make the playoffs and get knocked off in the first round. I don't have a clear opinion on the article's question but wonder what purpose is served by having playoffs which involve both these schools.

posted by billsaysthis at 03:21 PM on March 06

I am not familiar with California's system but if they were in Michigan it could be possible that they play in different divisions (i.e. division one or division four, so on and so forth). Could that be the case in this situation?

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 03:52 PM on March 06

YYM: Not in the playoffs, which are based on school size and geography. Only in the football playoffs, where an open division--in which any school can volunteer to compete--is there an exception. AFAIK.

posted by billsaysthis at 02:03 PM on March 08

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