Saturday, October 20, 2012

A few thoughts on charter schools and the NCHSAA playoffs

Today, I heard from a number of callers/readers who were upset about charter schools that are in the N.C. High School Athletic Association. A few were looking at tennis results and volleyball results and were upset.

Now where have I heard this before?

We know there has long been an uproar about private parochial Catholic schools like Charlotte Catholic and Raleigh's Cardinal Gibbons being in the association.

The thinking, at least on the Catholic schools, has always been this: my school has to use kids from within drawn geographic boundaries; those schools can pull kids from anywhere.

And that's true. Kind of.

In the case of the Catholic schools, most of the general population is not Catholic and most of the students who attend Catholic schools are. Charlotte Catholic, for example, pulls more than 95 percent of its students from its feeder schools, even the stud athletes. Jim Oddo just ain't filling up his powerhouse football team with kids who went to CMS feeder middle schools. Just not so.

The NCHSAA has strict rules about transferring to a non-boarding parochial school, too.

Basically if you transfer in once you start ninth grade, you have to sit a year before you can play sports. And there are virtually no exceptions.

Interestingly, a kid can transfer from, say, Charlotte Catholic to Charlotte Latin and play right away.

That brings me back to charter schools.

Charter schools can also draw from anywhere, but unlike the Catholic schools, they don't draw from a segment of society. Anyone can and does apply for the lotteries at these schools to get in.

It is very easy, in some cases, to put together powerhouse teams at charter schools. Many have wait lists, but there are open lotteries and I'm sure some people wonder how the 6-5 center always seems to win the lottery when their 5-5 algebra student doesn't. And if you take the 6-5 center from the west side of town and match him up with the 6-2 shooter from the east and mix in a few more, well, you've got yourself something, right?


And then these charter schools often are in the NCHSAA's smallest classification, 1A. Those small schools don't produce national powerhouses like with West Charlotte basketball or Butler football. And often the charters begin to do well very quickly.

What should we do?

Hmm, how about these three suggestions?

1. Put the charters into their own playoff pool that is NCHSAA sactioned.

2. The NCHSAA open up membership to interested private schools that are currently in the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association. Those schools would have to follow the eight semester rule and other stipulations, but then those schools would be placed into the charter/private school playoff block. Think, say, Queens Grant and Lake Norman Charter in a pod with Country Day and Charlotte Latin or something like that.

3. Move the charter schools up to the 2A level so they are playing bigger schools in the playoffs.


Anonymous said...

The big advantage that football programs at Catholic and other private schools have is that the players start running their systems in Middle School. They run the same offense and defense formations and playes for 6 years. That is a big advantage for Catholic playing HS teams in Charlotte. Also, why did they protest being in the Southwest 4A conference. Was it to dominate such schools such as Harding, Berry and win conference titles in other sports.
I think that NC should allow Private schools to compete in State Playoofs in football, basketball, and baseball. It would be great to see the games within Charlotte of public and private teams

Anonymous said...

There are less Catholics than who? Catholicism is just a brand of Christianity no different than Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, English Anglican, Mormons, etc etc.

All Catholic or Protestant or any other non-district schools should be in private school athletes clearly. No districts? No brainer.

If Muslim Jew Hindu or Buddist schools opened would they not be private too? No districts? No brainer.

Charters schools are public financed by the NCDOPI but they get students from all districts therefore they should be in the private school section like Catholic and any other religious school. No districts?
No brainer.

The key words are "athletics" and "districts" ...

Only 10% of students at public, private, religious/parochial charter schools play athletics anyway.

Wiley Coyote said...

Ahhh, West Charlotte. Home of Project LIFT, where graduation rates are the lowest in CMS and academic levels are dismal.

Sports are the last thing we should be concerned with.

Anonymous said...

If no one is going to say it then I will. The reason for all of this does not rest on the kids, rather it rest on the adults. Why all these changes? Answer: Cheating, yes cheating. Everyone has simply forgotten that it all started out as fun games, however this is no longer the case, specially when there's money and scholarships involved. Public Schools cheat and Private Schools cheat, catholic or Christian. It's only going to get worse, specially when you have a coaches' job on the line. The programs that adjust to these behaviors will be better prepared to do well. A first step could be a mandatory meeting among the different leaders of the leagues/conferences governing body to address solutions to these issues and implement stricter rules and guidelines, other than that the cutting corners, fake addreses, reclassification, fake birth certifates, and more will continue.

Anonymous said...

I honestly think Schools that you have to pay tuition to attend should have to play in the NCISAA! It would make that league stronger and get this issue off that table as far as the catholics go.

As far as charter schools the policing of these schools need to be dont better. Kennedy Charter and Queens Grant popped up out of no where with super star basketball teams with a so called lottery going on. I do however think Lake Norman and a few others do it right.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that a school such as... Hough... has students that live outside their boundries and that have transferred from other public and private schools, yet they are eligible immediately... A super season, 9 - 1, give crdit to the players and coaches hard work surely, however, it becomes a lot easier when a star lineman or running back "moves in". Great comment earlier about Adults being responsible, they want what they perceive is best for their children. Yet it is SAD that other children do not have the resources to manipulate the system and it even more dissapointing that CMS or NCHSAA does not respond to the obvious manipulation that adults have and will continue to use to benefit one child over another. Langston Wertz on twitter to the coach at Hough praised his team for a "magical season" last week... the coach responded, "it is not magic, we have been working hard since January" have all of the boys and coaches at schools across NC. It becomes a lot easier when you cheat to induce kids and parents to move to your school, especially when the coaches are not even supposed to be interacting with these kids at the combine. Rules are for those without the resources to manipulate them.

Anonymous said...

Just happened upon this story and comments. I don't want to say too much because I'm not up on all that's happened/being referenced to in these postings but,...... From what I remember reading, Charlotte Catholic wanted to be in the conference that involves high schools located closest to them. I think this feeling holds for almost all schools. Also keep in mind, Catholic is a 3A school, consistently playing against 4A schools. They will be playing against all 4A schools starting next year; that doesn't sound like a school trying to play in a weaker conference in order to dominate it. When was the last time a 3A public school asked to play up to 4A?

Anonymous said...

Interesting discussion, but the class warfare comments need to stop.

Anonymous said...

I think you are painting all charters with one broad stroke. I completely think charters should have more structured rules if they want to compete in the NCHSAA but many of them are just hanging on at the 1A level now.

My child goes to a K-12 charter with a football team only in HS. They are winless, yet again. They rarely make any NCHSAA playoffs and have had very few athletes go on to play collegiate sports.

In no way are they attempting to form super teams. Admission is by lottery and each grade has a waiting list. With no transportation, parents make a serious commitment to get their kids to school each day or pay for transportation and care.

(The racial mix is 50% white and hispanic, 50% african-american. 11% qualify for free reduced lunch. This is not a yuppie school)

They are doing their best to compete at 1A, moving them to 2A would crush them and frankly I'd hope they'd leave the NCHSAA if something like that happened.

Our MS competes with other local charters and small private schools, I already think those schools are a better competition fit than even NCHSAA 1A.