Schools with membership in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) have until Tuesday to submit their vote on a measure that, if passed, would expel Bishop McGuinness and similar private schools from the statewide athletic organization.
We hope school athletic directors vote in the affirmative on the measure to send Bishop and similar private schools such as Cardinal Gibbons and Charlotte Catholic in search of new conference homes.
We have nothing against these schools, and we certainly do not begrudge them the success they have had in athletic endeavors. No one at any level of athletic competition wins state titles and multiple conference titles without sustained hard work and commitment to the team’s success, all traits to be admired.
The problem is, these schools have a patently unfair advantage over their counterparts in the NCHSAA. Those other schools, such as Mount Airy, North Surry, East Surry and Surry Central high schools, draw their athletics from a specific, well-defined geographic area.
The entire NCHSAA is built upon the premise of giving all schools a roughly equal opportunity for success, limiting schools to drawing athletes from their regular school districts and even dividing the schools along student population lines. Larger schools are grouped into 4A and 3A conferences and playoffs, while smaller schools are grouped in 2A and 1A conferences and post season play.
Not so with Bishop, Cardinal, and the like. While those schools have made some concessions to the NCHSAA in how students admitted there can become eligible for athletic competition, the truth is there are no limits on where those schools can draw athletes from. It is no secret in the athletic world that when a private school becomes known for superior achievement in a certain sport, athletes in those sports often flock to those schools, giving them an unfair advantage over public schools.
There are plenty of opportunities for these schools to compete at a high level in private school conferences in North Carolina, with conference and post season schedules in place. And secular private schools, religious-oriented schools and home school programs across North Carolina have met with great success in recent years placing their athletes in college programs.
So if these schools are removed from the NCHSAA, we see little harm to them, but leaving the programs in the NCHSAA would seem to be harmful, and at the least unfair, to the public schools which must compete against them each season.