Dear Editor: For decades, students at the traditional public schools in Georgia have been denied the chance to win a state championship because the system overseen by the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) ignores the fact that there is no parity among traditional public schools, private schools, and city schools.
Whether you are in south Georgia or north Georgia, coaches from traditional public schools talk about the disadvantage of having to play against city schools and private schools.
Traditional public high schools have a defined border or service area. Private schools do not. For city schools, that defined border or service area is vague, at best. Some city schools have open enrollment. In my statistics and comparisons below, “public schools” refer to traditional public schools and “private schools” to private, independent, and parochial schools.
On January 20, 2015, the GHSA held a meeting on reclassification. At issue was a debate that has been brewing for many years: whether private and city high schools should be judged differently than public schools during this reclassification process. 2A public schools are saying the GHSA needs to do what it did with 1A schools a couple of years back: split the state playoffs between public and private schools. Private schools are asking for a student enrollment multiplier rule.
Ten private schools won 26% of the 1,826 sports championships that took place during 1995–2014 (excludes sports that split). What was the GHSA doing while this was occurring? Well, they did have a 1.5 multiplier rule in place during 2001–2008. This approach to parity failed. During this period, private school wins continued to rise.
The following private school statistics are for the years 1995–2014. In 2A and 3A boys’ and girls’ cross country combined, private schools won 67 of the last 79 championships (85%). In 2A and 3A boys’ and girls’ soccer combined, private schools won 35 of the last 44 championships (80%). In 2A and 3A boys’ and girls’ tennis combined, private schools won 73 of the last 80 championships (91%). In A/AA and 3A volleyball combined, private schools won 26 of the last 29 championships (90%).
During 2012–2014, in 2A, 3A, and 4A boys’ and girls’ soccer combined, there were 207 playoff games in which private schools played public or city schools. Private schools outscored public and city schools by a combined total of 793 to 65.
I encourage those interested in competitive balance in GHSA sports to go to the GHSA website at https://www.ghsa.net/champions and look at the various sports that have been dominated by private schools for decades.
Send an email to the GHSA and let them know that public and private schools do not need to be competing in regional play, nor do they need to be competing against each other in the state playoffs. Contact information for the GHSA Executive Director and Associate Directors can be found at https://www.ghsa.net/office-staff.
Parent of a public school athlete