January 2. The new year is beginning with a cold day and plenty of snow for me. No excuses for going outside to work. No excuses for not taking time to enter a blog. I am revealing my top Ohio high school sport's wish for the year. No, impossible to eliminate all of the noise of the recruiting media. No, impossible to eliminate the dishonesty of the college recruiters. My wish is that the "powers-to-be," whoever they may be take a long look at separating the private schools from public schools in tournament time.
For the past two years, high school principals in Ohio have voted down complicated and confusing referendums that included all kinds of factors. Such factors as student lunches, traditions of athletic programs, and school boundaries. Of course, that was voted down. And, honestly, with all due respects, it should have been. How do you determine such a thing as tradition. Even more important, the OHSAA does not have much money to work with. Now they would have had to spend more money to have made that plan work.
Both the privates and the publics lose, not only in football, but all sports. Common sense would explain many of the ways both sides would lose. Most of all, both sides would lose financially. Scheduling for private schools could be a night mare. Actual game in and game out competition would lessen. If fans think private schools recruit now, just think what would happen if private-public schools split. Of course, recruiting goes on in public schools too, but splitting schools wouldraelly open boundaries.
My solution is simple. Open enrollment. Once a student enrolls at any school, public or private, that is where he or she stays for four years. If for some reason, the student would switch to another school, he or she would be ineligible for one calendar year. Even I think that is tough, but that would be the standard. Honestly, my heart says one switch with no penalty would be possible.
Some Ohio schools have made the news recently with regards to transferring to another school. The only real exception would be if a parent or parents moved to another school district and gave up any ties to their former place of residency. No more temporary apartment living. No more student moving in with coach's family. No more temporary custody. A total up and move to the district would be only way.
Hopefully, this eliminates some of the transfer problems. BUT, the major stumbling block is the courts. Due to my uneventful life, I have never had to use a lawyer. But anytime that the OHSAA tries to enforce a rule, a lawyer will find a judge who will issue an injunction to allow that boy or girl to play. That is unless, the parent has little money. In that is the case, few lawyers work for pocket change. The courts make it hard on schools and the OHSAA. To me court interference is another animal.
Finally, instead of constantly punishing "kids," punish the adults, if they were found guilty of cheating. Fine coaches, fine administrators, or fine the parents. Even as a coach, I always tried to discipline the individual indiviuals rather than the whole team. Ban them from attending games.
Open enrollment. I am always reminded about the student in the Dayton area who could not transfer to a neighboring public school, but could drive through that neighboring school district, to go to a private school.
Football takes the lead in all of this argument, but the irony is that the debate began in Wayne County. A public school had a really good girls team , and I forget which sport, but was beaten in the tournament by a private school. The battles began.
My plan is too simple, I know. I have very good coaching friends in the both the private schools and the public schools. But sometimes the KISS theory works.