Friday, June 6, 2008

Wertz Q&A: CMS seceding ?

Observer Staff Writer Langston Wertz Jr. answers your sports-related questions. To ask a question, e-mail or add a question as a post below.

Q. Langston, I've heard some rumblings that we could see Meck. County pull out of the NCHSAA in the next 10 years and form their own Meck. County league. A Queen City Championship if you will. They would be able to keep all the money in house. I believe that we have seen other larger metro areas do this. Could Meck. County be far behind with the number of schools in place and others on the way? Just wondering.

A. It’s interesting that this rumor comes around every five years or so. I guess I can see where folks might think something like that might work. In the 10- year window you talk about, assuming there’s funding, we could have 28 CMS high schools here, up from 18 today. Certainly you could form an "insular" group of local leagues – say four – and play down to a city championship in all sports.
But putting together schedules would be somewhat difficult, especially given travel issues with $4 gas.
Out of county games would be hard to schedule. Some systems don’t allow competition with non-NCHSAA teams and the NCHSAA covers some costs that CMS would have to bear under your secede scenario.
And I think kids do like playing for state titles. I think having city championships in football and basketball and softball and soccer and baseball – all very possible – should be played here.
But they should occur before the state playoffs begin.
A city championship in basketball, I’m pretty convinced, would be a huge hit here immediately, whether played after the regular season or over Christmas (a format that would probably be easier to put together given some coaches love of all things conference tournament).
But as for CMS leaving the NCHSAA, I don’t see that happening.

Q. Why is Charlotte Catholic allowed to be part of the NCHSAA? It is not a public school and can, if it chooses, recruit players to their programs. Why aren't they forced to be part of the Independent leagues (like Statesville Christian)? For CC to "claim" a 3a Tennis Title is absurd. Only NC public high schools should be allowed to compete in NCHSAA sanctioned or organized events.

A. Catholic is one of several non-boarding parochial schools that are members of the NCHSAA. Catholic has been a member for more than three decades. Catholic’s football team won an NCHSAA championship in 1977, for example.The non-boardings are held to high standards, given that they can, in a sense, attract students from across geographic boundaries. But given the majority of the school is Catholic, they are not naturally going to attract a wide variety of students.

This from the NCHSAA handbook:
"Parochial non-boarding schools, in addition to subscribing to the general rules of the NCHSAA, must agree to adhere to the following regulations: (a) an all-male student body shall have its enrollment doubled for classification purposes; (b) a student must have been in attendance for the two most recent semesters before being eligible for athletics; and (c) athletes shall not be given scholarship aid or other financial consideration."
I also know that the non-boarding schools, like Catholic, have transfer students heavily scrutinized. All that said, the majority of the school population moves up through Catholic feeder programs anyway.

Q. What are the restrictions about a football player transferring schools?

A. Pretty much in Charlotte, you’ll need to move to the zone for whatever school it is that you’re interested in. Here ( is a great starting point to get information regarding eligibility and transfers in CMS and the NCHSAA. Best of luck.

Q. LW, thank you for the excellent coverage of the Lady Bulldawgs 3-Peat run this season! What a great season!!
In 2002, when I coached softball at Northridge MS and Constance Orr pitched for Northeast MS, she no-hit my team 2x at age 10. I knew back then this girl was something special. Thanks for all of your coverage of Butler Spring Sports and all of the area sports. You and your staff do a great job. You and your family enjoy your Summer, you deserve a break!

A. Constance Orr is a special player. I love her attitude. She doesn’t take herself too seriously. And she a few interesting superstitions about where she sits on the bench and not touching the ball at certain times. She’s the age of a high school sophomore dominating like a post-grad fifth year senior. She’s one of the best to play here.
And thanks for the kudos. I had fun covering Butler, as I have the past few years. The faces change a little but the team spirit remains.
As for summer, I plan to take a little time off to get revved up for football and chase that little white golf ball. My game’s suffering from not playing much.

Q. LW, hate to tell you this, but INDY will not be as good as this past year, 8 great years is a lot, and they just don't have the talent pool anymore, remember I told you first.

A. I think there’s enough coming back for another run. Remember coach Tom Knotts felt his team would have a real shot to reach 151 wins in a row. That would’ve meant another three years of winning.
I know Knotts doesn’t feel this team is as talented on paper as some of the rest, but the junior varsity last year was strong and having the state’s best player in safety Devonte Holloman doesn’t hurt. I would definitely install what should be a hungry Patriots team as one the state title faves.

Q. i played for indy 4 years and i got 4 rings. What people fail to realize is kids want to go to indy kids want to win championships and be apart of history. 4 state rings; 63 game straight no loss; 5-0 against butler (priceless); Indy is the best thing thats happened charlotte for football.

A. Indy’s success was great for Mecklenburg County and the state. Some people stopped thinking of us as a weak football state because of it. And you had a heckuva high school career. Can’t do any better than 63-0 with four rings. And yes, any school with that kind of success will attract interested parties. It’s human nature.

Q. Has Knotts lost his marbles playing a small 700 student 2A Madison out of rural Florida after flying to Cincinnati last year to allow a small 1,000 student Catholic school Elder to bust his national public school record 109 game win streak? So what happens when an even smaller school knocks off a weaker IHS this yr? Is TK drinking the Kool Aid and intentionally self destructive since his old adversary Bruce Hardin knocked him out of the Providence Day job he wanted? This must have been a slap in the face.

A. Well, I wouldn’t say Bruce knocked Tommy out of anything. Providence Day couldn’t lose with either guy.
But I would love to see Tommy and Bruce square off again. CMS cannot play NCISAA schools in non-tournament situations, however, so we won’t see it.
As for the rest of your question, I find this interesting: People used to crucify Knotts when he wouldn’t play out of state. Now he does, and he’s still on the wrong side of right.
He’s taking his team on a Labor Day trip down to football rich Florida to play a powerhouse small school team. The night will be electric and the Patriots will get a championship-atmosphere road game where the only people pulling for them will be their family and friends who they won’t be able to hear in the stands.
I think that would be a neat trip for a 16- or 17-year-old kid.

Q. What is going on at Vance basketball?

A. I think Vance should be state championship strong next year if everybody returns. Beyond that, I don’t know what’s going on at Vance basketball other than the same Johnny-might-go-here stuff that is going on everywhere else.

Q. Langston, you really think Ashton Ward is the best softball player you’ve seen? I think you had the right top five Sunday but not No. 1.

A. Since you signed your name as Viking 1, I would say you’re a Crystal Cox fan. The Central Cabarrus pitcher was special, no question. But Ward was a big strong pitcher, at 6-foot or so, who threw harder than anyone I’ve seen except Shaina Ervin at Hopewell.
With those two, it was like they were throwing down at you. That’s intimidating.
Ward was also the best position player I’d seen. It’s a devilish combo.
The performances Ward had in the biggest moments – game-winning catches, shutouts, big hits – are among the best I’ve seen from any high school player in any sport. I’ll have to come up with a list of top performances one day. I know Ward in her junior year state final and Jason Parker in the 1999 N.C. 4A basketball championship and Chris Leak’s sophomore year state final game come to mind.
What do you all think?

Q. Would Butler 2008 beat Butler 2007?

A. I think ’08 and ’07 pitching was equal but ’07 had slightly better sticks. ’06 fast-pitch squad would beat all of ‘em I think. Two dominant pitchers in Emily Jeffries and Ashton Ward.

Q. Why can’t CMS win a baseball championship?

A. Wish I knew. But it’s not like we dominate that sport. Last one was Providence in ’95. Harding and South Meck won in ’88 and ’89. Independence won in ’84, and then you go waaaayyyy back – to Myers Park in 1970.
Around here, I don’t see the interest in baseball that I used to see when I started at the paper in ’88. I think the concentration on football and basketball year-round has removed some skill players who might play baseball as a third sport and I know whereas we’re a basketball and football first town, places like Greenville, which has produced four state champs in six years, are baseball-crazy. Having good youth development helps.
I think we’ve got some great programs here at North and Butler and Providence and Kell, and Mecklenburg County teams will keep getting to the finals. This year, Kell led in both of its games against Greenville Rose. A couple bounces go a different way and you’re not asking your question. The key is to keep putting yourself in the championship round. I think local teams will.


Anonymous said...

County-wide school districts are supposed to occur only in poor, rural communities that need to pool their financial resources. CMS needs to change to "Charlotte Public Schools" so we don't look like rednecks to the rest of the nation (well, that won't ever change...).

Anonymous said...

Regarding county wide school districts. Nearly every county in the state now falls under one school district. Some towns still have their own separate district but they are much less common now.

Anonymous said...

There's a hell of an investigative piece waiting to be written about all the money the Chapel Hill mafia known as the NCHSAA leeches away from school kids. Millions.

In fact...wait, I've told you guys this already. For years. You manifestly do not care.

Keep staking out the homes of high school kids. That's some compelling journalism there.


Anonymous said...

I really appreciate your confiedence in Indy next year. We won't disappoint.

Independence Football

Anonymous said...

Considering the cpach at Phillip O Berry has resigned, who is in the running for the job? Heard Cannons assistant coach Hatchett may be in the mix. Any truth to that?

Anonymous said...

The person who wrote about the NCHSAA is right. Ask Independence HS how much money they received from the Richmond County football game a couple of years ago, after the NCHSAA took their portion. I think 15,000 people attended paying $8 per ticket. The NCHSAA took $1 per ticket as a State surcharge still leaving an estimated 100k. Check this one out.

Why does the NCHSAA have more staff than most states? Why is Charlie Adams making the salary that he makes for running a couple of annual meetings.

Keep going it is sitting there in front of you-if you just take time to look.

Anonymous said...

"L" their is talks that CMS is considering canceling some games in all sports next year do to high gas prices, is this a true statment?

Anonymous said...

After seeing the article in today's paper, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Ask the former Director, Mr. Knox about the gifts he use to reap for votes, etc.

And if Charlie Adams/NCHSAA is so visionary why did he not allow the tv broadcast of the Indepenence/Butler FB game, it seems those revenues could have been added to the Fund. It is time this bunch quite running their hotdog stand like it was their stand and give it back to the schools.

Anonymous said...

langston, how nasty are the heels going to be next year? All three players returning!?!?! Do you think they can go better than the 3 losses they had...2,1....0?

Anonymous said...

Glad to see that the INDY investigation is almost over! When all is said and done, the haters will have to admit that just because there are those who blow smoke, there are NOT always fires! Go Indy!!!

pwilliams said...

Don't confuse Indy haters with those who want a level playing field, no matter what school it is. I don't hate Indy or Tommy Knotts. I despise those at all schools,in all sports, who gain a competitive advantage playing ineligible players(you might have heard, Indy, and many others had a bunch of them).Who do the players on the other teams go see about the games they lost to teams that won with illegal players, who played a significant role in the victory.It's tough luck for them. Don't these players on the other teams have any rights. Maybe you are a do right team hater? Maybe you think might makes right. Don't confuse "haters" with those who live clean and play hard, and get told that you just don't try hard enough to beat the All Star Teams. Why don't you just let these teams who play illegal players , make all of them ineligible, and then you won't ever even get scored on, much less lose a game. Have fun with your lovable team.

Anonymous said...

Paul you still seemed to be VERY confused by the facts! It is very diffrent for a student that fibs about his address then a school that condones or supports cheating. My point is that after this investigation is over and if it is proven that INDY was unaware of any issues with it's players then this should be a dead issue. If anyone drags this on. Then yes, they are haters!

pwilliams said...

Let me give you the facts!! If a player plays in a game, he rushes for 200 yds, and scores 3 touchdowns and his team wins 21-20, and he is found to be ineligible, he upset the competitive balance in that game. His fault, the coaches fault, his parents fault, his dogs fault, it doesn't matter. The team he played for must forfeit the game. This is true in almost every state in the nation. Why can't you people understand this? If the coaches didn't know anything, forfeit the game, and don't punish the coach. The player had NO business in that game. How about the players on the other team who were eligible in every way. You need to get a life and understand the reason you have eligibility is to level the playing field.When you have ineligible player(s), Indy had a bunch, you gain a competitive advantage, PERIOD.It seems to me that an ineligible player at West Charlotte, South Meck, or Berry is a liability to the entire team, but an ineligible player at Indy is only a liability to himself. Remember the mode of operation Nixon used in Watergate. Plausible deny ability. Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies.You gotta ask the right questions of athletes to find out who, what when, where, and how. Playing dumb when you are supposed to be the best is an insult to the intelligence of educated people. Like I said, if you are going to have 7 or 8 ineligible, why not go for it, and have all of them illegal. Remember, "I just didn't know anything at all about this".

Anonymous said...

To Paul. BRAVO typical GOP rhetoric! Bottom line. CMS hired from the outside to investigate. At some point you have have to give way to the sytem. Who knows, Indy may be found guilty. If this is the case then so be it. If not, move on a shoot for a better more refined system. I just know that either way, some will still have a problem. At some point you have to let go and abide by the system. After all, were does it stop, we could open up a can of worms by asking the question of why do kids fib to get into certain programs. If all thing were equal then there would be no need... Kids want to play for good teams where they have the oppertunity to horne there atheletic skills, be seen and land a scholarship.

Anonymous said...

Look. Nobody hates on Indy. This is imaginary paranoia. They would just love to see Knots and his boys go something like 0-11 for the next 20 years or so and lose games by an average of 70-80 points.
People like the underdogs in America since afterall all the people who came here from across the pond were all poor and did so to seek a better life and escape tyranny.
We kind of envision Indy as like current day America and Bush who is 10 times bigger and richers and bullys its way into some small 3rd world nation and has its way destroying at will.
Gotta hand it to America. They know how to pick their fights and always pick on the little guys and never the big ones.
We want Indy and America to get back to basics and become the underdogs again so people will like them again.

Indy needs go back to 1966 when they first opened their doors taking students from East and Garinger and couldnt win a football game if their lives depended on it. Heck, Indy was only about a 50% team even up until 2000 when Knotts took over for Jester and Leak transferred from South.

We would like to see a return to those good ole days. Whipping on on Indy was a lot of fun way back when. We even felt sorry for them and held back the scores. We need to go back to the future again and we have confidence we will return soon. Then everyone will love those Pats again.

Anonymous said...

Langston his Q&A section is weak!

Anonymous said...

leak didn't transfer from south. they lived in indy dist. since cj was 12! the amount of hate for success is really sad in this society. there was a time when we saw success, we tried to emulate it. now we just cry and scream "cheaters" when there is no such evidence. instead of whining and crying, how about trying to use that energy to get better. i didn't see crying when ucla won 88 in a row. notre dame went out there and shut em up, which is exactly what the rest of north carolina needs to do. i don't hear any complaining from the wilmington team that beat them. hhmmm, strange, huh butler!

Anonymous said...

Langston this Q&A blog sucks!

michelle hillison said...


Just wanted to say hello. I love the Q&A - really nice work. Seems like so long ago since my ihigh days. It is great to see not just how much more online prep stuff there is with papers but also how folks like you guys have used it as a tool to connect more with readers.

I saw that answer about the best prep reporters. I couldn't agree more with who is on and not on your list.

Tell Brett hey!

Take care,


Anonymous said...

Hey Langston are you the Raider Detector on If not why do Raider fans hate him so much?