Public vs. Private

Throughout high school sports everywhere, the debate on public schools versus private schools has come up.

I know that in Ohio this topic has risen many times in the past few years, with private schools winning majority of all state championships in all sports in all divisions. This result comes from the student athletes moving to private schools for many different reasons.

The biggest reason for student athletes to move to private schools instead of public schools is that privates have open enrollment. However, there are public schools out there that have open enrollment. Another reason is that the private schools can offer scholarships or grants that help with the tuition at that school. These scholarships allow the privates to recruit in high school, which causes an uproar from public schools that have to compete against the privates.

In Ohio high school basketball there are four divisions, stacking the schools of similar size against each other for the tournament. Division one is the largest schools and division four is the smallest schools. In the girls’ state tournament, divisions one, two, and three all had a private school champion. Division four had a public school winner, keeping the topic at ease a little. In the boys’ state tournament, divisions two, three, and four had a private school champion. Division one, however, had a public school winner. So out of eight state championships for high school basketball, only two champions were from public schools. This definitely does not help keep the debate calm.

Two different things could result from things like this. The Ohio High School Athletic Association has a proposed a competitive balance in store for the near future. This would force the private schools to all move up one division from what they are currently in. This will make the private schools that are division four with division one talent play better competition in division three since they are bigger schools. The other option is the completely split the private schools and the public schools. Creating a whole new league that takes out all of the private schools would allow for the public schools to compete for championships with their “homegrown” talent, well for the most part. Then all of the private schools can recruit and “cheat,” as the private haters call it, and compete within themselves in their own league and own championships.

Many people believe they have the solution and that they know it all, but that is their ego kicking in. There is no true solution that will make everyone happy, so the OHSAA has a very difficult job at deciding what to do. But whatever they do, they need to make a change somewhere because the system that is in place now certainly is not working.

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