James Alverson

NCHSAA nearly had a very dark day

Posted May 3, 2012

Any time adults get involved in youth sports ... you can bet a mess is on the way. That's not to say that parents should not be involved in their kids athletic careers, and administrators shouldn't put rules in place to protect kids that participate in athletics, because they should, but when parents and administrators get too focused on "winning", the political battles that ensue can ruin kids chances to just play the games.

Today was a near disaster for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association. Six member schools floated an amendment that had to be voted on by all member schools with little to no time for debate that would have expelled three parochial schools from the association. The amendment caused a very divisive situation where there was really no need for division. Why?

The only reasons even posited before the vote, as NCHSAA Commissioner Davis Whitfield questioned outloud before announcing the results of the vote, were "Because they have no boundaries? Because it's perceived that they recruit? Because they haven't been upstanding members of our association?"

All of those accusations are huge misconceptions of what these parochial schools actually are. There are boundaries (tuition and realistic travel distance), they don’t recruit (pretty much all successful athletic programs are accused of this at some point), and they follow all of the same rules other member institutions follow except their eligibility rules are even more restrictive than public schools.

The move by six Rowan County Schools very nearly took away the opportunity for students at 3 of the state's private schools to compete at our state's highest level all by circumventing the organization's member-appointed Board of Directors and dropping a potential public relations bombshell on the state's high school principal's plates.

While I’m fully confident that our state's administrators are capable of making a decision of this magnitude … because they are … to go about a decision to expunge three NCHSAA member schools with upstanding records of membership in the association without so much as a discussion of the real and significant issues at hand is irresponsible at best.

This decision by six schools brought out some very heated, and very counter-productive discussion. Had the measure passed in this manner, it had the potential to bring a lot of unnecessary, harsh, and harmful coverage of the NCHSAA to the forefront of the entire nation. Of course do not forget to mention the possibility of litigation that could cost the association money (into the 6-7 figure range) that should go to providing better athletic opportunities for ALL of our state's students.

The decision by these six schools to circumvent the Board of Directors brought a lot of anger and mistrust out on both sides of the issue. It sharply divided member institutions in the state, and painted three of the association's members into a corner, placing them squarely in a defensive position, and for what purpose?

I hate to be this guy and say, “when I played”, but I think it’s very pertinent in this case. It did not matter who we played, they could have been bigger, stronger, faster teams than we were, they could have had a spotless record, but my high school football coach, Charlie Groves, always said, “They put their britches on the same way you do, one leg at a time.”

At the end of the day, when two teams in the NCHSAA step out on the field, the only thing different about them is the uniforms they have on. Does not matter if it is a public school, a magnet, an open-enrollment district or a private parochial school, they still put their pants on the same way, and still play by the same rules between the lines.

It is also important to point out there are rules that are already in place to attempt to level the playing field for public schools and private schools, to keep the private schools from gaining competitive advantages because of the nature of their school not having geographic boundaries for attendance.

However, it is also very important to point out that obviously many member institutions agreed with the Rowan County schools amendment. In fact 234 of them agreed with the six that brought this matter of expulsion to a vote. It is painfully obvious that there is still a large situation that needs to be appropriately dealt with by ALL members of the association.

Had this amendment passed, it would have been an absolute travesty, particularly since there was zero discussion as an entire organization as to why this move should or should not take place. This is not a matter that should be decided in a few days. This is not a matter that should be rushed.

The decision to remove any of the NCHSAA’s member institutions who are actively submitting to follow the rules of the association should not be simply left to an up or down vote. There should be careful deliberation and consideration, which should come in the form of open dialogue between members, an attempt to try and find common ground. Meet each other face to face and discuss the issues at hand, proposing real solutions to the problems faced.

Many times, you may find that things aren’t really as you perceive them to be, and while there may need to be some tweaks made to the organizations rules to ensure a level playing field, there is a fair way to level the playing ground for ALL members of the association.

Coming to that place where it is fair for all parties is hard work. It will be difficult, it will take creative ideas, unselfishness and compromise on both sides of the issue, but I’m confident that if our state’s educators and athletic administrators truly have what is in the best interest of all kids in the state at heart, we can find a solution that would make it possible to include any accredited school in our state that wants to play by the fair-minded rules of the NCHSAA.

That’s my hope. Everyone come to the table, open-minded. Bring your problem solving skills, and figure out a way to INCLUDE students in a quality organization like the NCHSAA, rather than excluding them from the benefits gained by their peers from competition in the association.

12 Comments

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  • nucdnsuct May 8, 1:45 p.m.

    ^^ Apparently not enough agree with you. The only differences between a private school and a magnet school is that the private school saves tax payers money, and costs the family of the student. Why aren't you jumping up and down about magent schools? They don't have the same boundaries as public. Maybe it's only because they don't compete in the same division, and therefore the public school aren't losing to them..

    To be fair... shouldn't the private school students get funded the same amount as a public school student does? It actually turns out that the public school students are given a better education from all the $$ that families who send there kids to a private school, yet pay school taxes, and get NO benefit from it. How about the public school student familes start pulling their fair share???

    Or is it that you want these students to attend the private school, or else the existing public school students wouldn't even make the team.... since the private students are that much better.

    Be carefull what you ask for.. you may get it.

  • rmslawns2 May 8, 11:47 a.m.

    These are the tails of what the world knows as a loser.

    The last time I checked, the baseball team still has only 9 players at a time, football 11, and basketball 5, etc. Having more players tryout is great, and if a school wants to carry a large bench, but these don't help one ioata in winning a single game.

    I believe that it is the culture, the higher interest level of the student and coaches, that allows these kids to achieve better results. Only the ones looking up, are declaring that it isn't fair, but, in most cases, they don't have the level of commitment or desire that it takes to win, and have become twisted in their desire to find fault and blame in everyone and everything, other than themselves, of course.

    Last time I checked, nobody in the public schools has an issue with a public school being better thasn others in sports. It is a public school. Letting a private school in is not right...period. A loser nucdnsuct? Ask the over 200 principals who voted to boot them out have to say about that.

  • nucdnsuct May 8, 10:14 a.m.

    It was a dark day. They had a chance to make things right and blew it. The supporters of keeping... View More

    — Posted by rmslawns2

    ..... These are the tails of what the world knows as a loser.

  • nucdnsuct May 8, 9:26 a.m.

    It blows my mind that a school is deemed as a violation since it has a perceived advantage since:

    They have the same number of students, but the percentage of those students likely to get... View More

    The last time I checked, the baseball team still has only 9 players at a time, football 11, and basketball 5, etc. Having more players tryout is great, and if a school wants to carry a large bench, but these don't help one ioata in winning a single game.

    I believe that it is the culture, the higher interest level of the student and coaches, that allows these kids to achieve better results. Only the ones looking up, are declaring that it isn't fair, but, in most cases, they don't have the level of commitment or desire that it takes to win, and have become twisted in their desire to find fault and blame in everyone and everything, other than themselves, of course.

  • rmslawns2 May 7, 11:38 p.m.

    It was a dark day. They had a chance to make things right and blew it. The supporters of keeping gibbons in want a cake walk at playoff time. All I can hope now is how loud will the noise be if they move up to 4A and dominate? Rowan county just did not have the connections that some of the big boys in 4A have and will petition if gibbons heads to 4A and starts to win laughers in the playoffs. I have not met one parent in 2A or 3A that agrees with schools like gibbons being allowed to compete against small schools. It is like a travel team against a rec team.

  • rmslawns2 May 7, 11:31 p.m.

    This is just a case of each side has their opinion. I have lived here for 25 years, and watched the 2A school my son is a senior at now play competition over the years that was better, worse, but not consistently far better. Cardinal Gibbons is far better in most sports every year. Yes, we read about all of the all americans going on to colleges to play sports. But when a 2A soccer team several years ago that was one of the better soccer teams I had seen in many years, they were beat in the second round of the playoffs 9-1. I am sorry, if parents pay close to 10,000 dollars to send thier kids there, it is a private school. What did my old soccer coach say years ago? "we will only scrimmage the catholic schools". he would not schedule non conference games against teams that parents pulled their kids out of public school to pay and attend catholic school. The same parents that stood in line to vote down any public school bonds. If mommie and daddy can afford to send their star athlete to gibbons, they will. Gibbons belongs in a conference with all private schools. Please don't tell me a religous person does not lie. Some of the biggest liars I have seen in my life go to church twice on sunday and once on wednesday.

  • deadeyejoe May 5, 12:02 p.m.

    Curious the twisted, tortured logic some are using and the lengths some reporters and others are going to trying to excuse and deny the very real and obvious athletic advantages private schools have over their public counterparts.

  • pskunk119 May 4, 6:02 p.m.

    Cardinal Gibbons & Charlotte Catholic have finished #1/#2 in the last 6 Wachovia Cups. How is that not fair? They have no boundaries. They may not recruit but they certainly 'assemble' teams with an decided advantage over their competition. Gibbons won 5 out of 6 state championships in the Fall sports. FIVE OUT OF ' SIX!!!! That's ridiculous. The NCHSAA needs to level the playing field. It's unfair that schools with defined boundaries have to compete against schools that have none. It's unreal that our state allows this to happen.

  • lovegodsmercy May 4, 11:21 a.m.

    Not flaming just curious how many of these students receive "financial aid" to attend these schools? Would this be considered a form of recruiting? Also, where are these players coming from? Out of state, out of district, or local? I do not know the answers to these thats why I am asking. Anyone know where this information would be? Thanks.

  • cougarxccoach May 4, 11:16 a.m.

    Deprive kids to play. Very uninformed statement. First, this would have no bearing on regular season play, only state playoffs. Second, there is a NC private school division that has playoffs and state champions. So, nobody is being deprived of playing.

    Sitting out two semesters as a freshman, how many freshman impact the varsity level? This is a moot point.

    Public schools play the cards they are dealt. If a great athlete wants to move into a great programs district, so be it. But to have the ability to draw from any and everywhere is an unfair advantage.

    How heterogeneous is the mixture of these private school students? How many had parents starting them at an early age, and playing sports where socio-economic status play a part? If you could afford it and had an outstanding athlete, would you want them to play on a powerhouse team gaining recognition?

    Do you really think these schools have coaching and athlete work ethic that is way beyond that of public schools? Really? They have the same number of students, but the percentage of those students likely to get involved is much higher. That may be tough for you to admit.

    State championships are impressive, but mean nothing if they are not respected...and it appears over 200 schools really don't.

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