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Survey: Should public, private schools play in separate leagues?

January 20, 2016 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
In December, Coach and Athletic Director asked readers whether public and private high school athletic teams should compete in separate leagues and tournaments. States like New Jersey have debated the issue in recent years as the competitive gap widens and more private schools are beating public school teams with greater ease.

PublicPrivateCHARTHere are the results of the survey along with some of the responses from readers.

• There are some publics operating with the same advantages as privates, whatever those may advantages may be. Add them to the same super league for playing parity. But note that some players on non-elite teams still relish the experience of playing the best, win or lose.

If you separate the two leagues, what’s to stop the private schools from removing themselves from their state assiciations and creating their own association? If they do that, how would public schools regulate the private schools recruiting practices?

If you can recruit, you should not be able to compete with public schools that can’t. How it could ever be considered fair, I simply don’t understand. Private schools tend to hide behind their usual religiousness and get away with what would be cheating if public schools did the same.

Maybe in large cities, but many private schools are in an area with very few other private schools. It is fine to consider multipliers and other factors that might make private schools play up a classification but private schools should not be forced into a private school league.

Leagues, yes. Tournaments, no. Any public school coach should be able to schedule any tournament they like, knowing full well private high schools will be competing, and visa versa. But in league and postseason play it should be separate. The argument that public schools are restricted from recruiting is the most obvious reason. Besides that, the money issue, that is having much more to utilize for the teams, whatever they might be, also comes into play. (Fundraising is much more restricted even in public schools.)

Unless you have “open enrollment” across city boundaries, private schools have a huge built in advantage, especially in a multi class state if classes are based on school population. 300 hand picked students versus 300 kids from the neighborhood can be quite a disparity in the same class.

There should absolutely be separate leagues! You should check out the high school football state championship winners in Illinois! Two catholic teams played for the Class 8A state championship (there were a total of 6 parochial schools out of 16 that played for 1st place trophy).

It is not a level playing field! Let the private schools all be in one league then they can recruit against each other. We have private schools that are located right in the middle of a large metro area and they are put in the same classification as the smallest schools in our state! Not right!

The geographic boundary restrictions render competitive play impossible for public schools. Private schools have the opportunity to recruit and to consolidate talent from several neighboring geographic school districts. The two entities just simply are not working with comparable structures. I further believe this discrepancy is most revealing in the smallest state classifications, as small public schools can barely fill rosters to maintain teams.


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