Brett Honeycutt helped me to get NCPrepTrack started in the 1990s. (...Back in the days of faxed results, drop-off film processing centers, and dial-up landline connections.) Formerly a sportswriter with The Charlotte Observer he has followed high school sports for decades. He wanted to share his thoughts about Cardinal Gibbons, Charlotte Catholic, and Bishop McGuinness remaining in the NCHSAA.|
The 293 member schools of the NCHSAA are voting on a proposal by six Rowan County schools to amend bylaws to remove non-boarding parochial schools from the association. The schools were given a week to send in their votes, and the deadline is Tuesday, April 24.
That's strange that none of the Catholic schools are in Rowan County, the county where the public schools initiated the vote. If it was a real issue, why didn't the public schools in Wake County (where Cardinal Gibbons is located), Mecklenburg County (where Charlotte Catholic is located), Forsyth County (where Bishop McGuinness is located) and Cabarrus County (where Christ the King will open its new campus next school year) initiate the vote?
Jeff George, of NCrunners.com pointed out something that not many people know -- the fact that the NCHSAA's transfer rule for anyone moving to one of the Catholic schools is stiffer than transferring to a public school. If you want to play at one of the Catholic schools, you have to sit for one year (NCHSAA rule and a rule that the NCHSAA monitors with reams of paper work).
Sure, those transfer rules are in place for some public schools, but they're not enforced that often (we know this without even pointing out cases of the multitudes of transfers within the public schools that happen each school year). Everyone can easily name 5-10 athletes in their own school system who have transferred from one public school to another without incurring any penalties. And, some public schools allow students to come from another county if they pay a "fee" to that public school system (the most prominent runner who did this was Carly Matthews, a 2001 Foot Locker qualifier, who transferred from Ledford in Davidson County to Mount Tabor in Forsyth County. She still lived in Davidson County, but she paid a fee to go to school in Forsyth County. It wasn't a secret because it was written about quite a bit back then by the Winston-Salem Journal, but it was okay with the NCHSAA).
I read some of the commments by the coaches and A.D's concerning the Catholic schools, but they kept mentioning recruiting, etc. (there's no evidence of that. The proof that there is no evidence is that none of the schools who initiated the vote, and none of the schools in the counties where the Catholic schools are located, and none of the schools that have been making comments, have any proof. If they did, you better believe they would hand it over. But it's just not there. And it's not there, because it doesn't happen like they think. It may be their opinion, but that's all it is. Opinions founded on nothing or very little. More than anyone, though, public school coaches know that the transfers within the public schools are very prevalent. Again, we all can name 5-10 kids within our own school systems who have transferred from one public school to another, without having to sit out).
So, with all of that said, is it really about a level playing field? No, it's about the perception of a level playing field. Unfortunately, in this case, it's a wrong perception. Perception is NOT reality. Perception is perceived reality, which is, in a nutshell, not real.
If we want our athletes to compete against the best, then we will tell them to raise the bar. We won't tell them to eliminate the bar so that they feel good about themselves. That is a false reality, a false perception and gives the kids a false sense of what they accomplished.
When the transferring within the public schools is fixed, then we can talk about level playing fields and what is or isn't right. Until then, this is just smoke and mirrors to foster someone's dislike for having to compete against certain schools. If it's more than that, or if there is proof and the NCHSAA is just ignoring it, then, please, someone actually provide it.
Remember, the vote isn't to enforce existing rules or to make the rules tougher, because, well, the rules are being followed. So, because the rules are being followed, the only thing they can do is just eliminate the bar. Not raise the bar, mind you, but just eliminate it altogether.
Sidenote: Strange also that magnet schools weren't addressed in the other vote? I mean, their draw is from a larger area than the regular public schools, too.
Let's be real and just let the kids compete.