- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Anyone take notice of the name of New Albany’s opponent in the 4A boys’ semifinals last week?
St. Stanislaus College-- It’s a private boarding school that’s allowed to compete with the public schools in the MHSAA.
Puzzled as to how this can be allowed?
You’re not alone, and the topic of these schools, that recruit their athletes, are on the minds of many throughout the state.
But this is a problem that has been going on for longer than the isolated incidents of this year’s State Basketball Championships.
A colleague, Brandon Speck of the Monroe County Journal, chose to write on this subject in his column this week. Covering Amory and Monroe County, Speck has witnessed several times teams he covers falling in championships to the same St. Stanislaus that New Albany lost to last week.
What blew this story up this week are the comments from Bruce head coach Davin Young. After falling to Piney Woods, another private boarding school that’s currently in 2A and boasts athletes from Florida, Nevada and The Bahamas, Young did not go into much detail about the situation, but spoke out about where his team members are from.
“Our team, everybody’s from right there in Calhoun County, right? Then another team who can get players from where they want to...they’re allowed, we’re not allowed. I can’t say much more than that to make it very plain.”
Young was not using the Piney Woods’ situation as an excuse for his team losing, rather he was stating the obvious. How can schools that recruit be allowed to compete with the ones that are not allowed to?
I took time myself to go through the MHSAA guidelines to see if there is, in fact, something that allows this.
I found nothing.
Simply put, students that receive tuition/boarding assistance to play athletics are not allowed to compete in MHSAA (see Section D, letter k. regarding special inducements in the 2010-2011 MHSAA Handbook). At least, this is how I interpret the rule in regards to this situation.
Now what’s in question is not how the private schools operate. They run on tuition and donations, not tax dollars, so they are free to work as they please. The issue is, how is it fair that they are allowed to compete on the same level with schools that cannot do the same?
I questioned why Myrtle had to play St. Aloysious last year in the 1A baseball championships, and looking back, East Union was in a similar situation falling to Natchez Cathedral and Greenville-St. Joe in 1995 and 2005. On top of this, Piney Woods will drop to 1A next year, adding competition to our county schools.
This needs to be addressed by the MHSAA; otherwise we’ll keep seeing the same results-- an unfair advantage for the private schools.