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Debate starting again with public vs. private schools

It’s starting again and this time they don’t want a lengthy debate. They want something to happen right now.

The cry right now is coming from Wayne County where the 12 superintendents want separate state tournaments for private and public schools.

The group sent out questionnaires and got replies from 319 schools. Of those responding, the group said two-thirds favored a split.

The Wayne County group did a study and found that between 1999 and 2007, private schools won 44 percent of the state football titles, 60 percent in volleyball, 50 percent in girls’ soccer and basketball, 46 percent in baseball and 39 percent in boys’ soccer and basketball.

At this year’s boys’ state basketball tournament, six of the 16 teams were Catholic schools.

The cry from Wayne County is really their way of saying they don’t like the way private schools can recruit.

Oh, those awful private schools. How could they recruit? You never see that in the public schools.


With open enrollment, students are jumping all over the place in the public schools. There are some coaches openly recruiting players. I know of incidents where public school coaches talked to kids at other schools and tried to recruit them to their program.

When a student goes to a private school, there is a matter of tuition. That’s not the case with public schools, so that is a disadvantage to the private schools.

And there are high school coaches who get an AAU basketball team in the summer and tell the players they should all stick together and go to the same school so that they’ll have a good team. Call it subtle recruiting.

The public schools better be careful of what they ask for, they might get it. The private schools could leave the Ohio High School Athletic Association and form their own association. They could make their own rules and the OHSAA would have no jurisdiction over them. Private schools could openly recruit anyone in any state if they wanted.

There is talk that the Ohio Department of Education won’t let the money follow a student if they go to another district. Of course, students can go back to the legal guardian or renting a residence in another district.

It’s not a perfect situation, but then it never is. The best thing the OHSAA could do is make rules and enforce them.

—— Sinatra ——

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.