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posted: 4/10/2014 12:01 AM

Equity lacking in state championships

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Non-boundary schools have won a disproportionate number of state titles the past 35 years as part of the IHSA. While comprising less than 20 percent of the membership they have won a much larger percentage of all championships, especially in the last 10 years.

This is especially true in football, wrestling, girls volleyball, and boys and girls basketball. Last year boys basketball and baseball's top two classes were won by non-boundary schools. This fall, all four classes of girls volleyball were won by private schools. This winter girls basketball non-boundary schools won the top three classes and three other trophies. Football saw three of eight classes won by non-boundary schools and three other finalists.

Schools have once-in-a-lifetime teams and get beat by these schools that can draw students from a 30-mile radius. In the Chicago area that could be as many as 1 million students to choose from.

Many non-boundary schools also reject students who cannot meet academic standards. The non-boundary schools can control their own environment, while more than 80 percent of the IHSA must accept all students in their district.

The multiplier shifts teams to other classes; while this may make some schools happy, others will suffer. As long as we, the 80 percent, sit back and do nothing, non-boundary schools will continue to dominate.

In my 34 years of coaching this issue comes up every season. We need to multiply the non-boundary schools into their own class. Level the playing field once and for all. One argument the non-boundary schools have levied is that they do not have the students or resources that the big public schools have. They have the ultimate resource expanded boundaries, larger player pool, and hand-selected student bodies. Equity?

Terry Clarke

Head wrestling, assistant football, assistant badminton coach

York High School


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