Private schools to remain part of MHSAA

mhsaa logo, no bkgdBy Gene Phelps

Daily Journal

The proposal to drop private and parochial schools from the Mississippi High School Activities Association never made it to the executive council for a vote at Thursday’s fall meeting in Clinton.

“It died before making it to the floor,” said Larry Williams, the MHSAA District 1 secretary from Nettleton.

Smithville principal Chad O’Brian introduced the proposal in August, saying the state’s 13 private schools in the MHSAA – including Tupelo Christian Prep – have an unfair advantage in recruiting students.

“We just want a level playing field. That’s really all we’re asking for,” O’Brian told the Daily Journal this summer.

TCPS baseball coach Will Lowrey said there’s a misconception that private schools recruit.

“I’m a product of the public schools and all we’ve ever known is that private schools can recruit,” he said. “The rules on that are the same for us as everyone else.”

Hoops proposal

In other action taken at the MHSAA’s fall meeting in Clinton, a proposal to expand team participation in the state girls and boys basketball tournament passed its first vote: 34-4 legislative council and 10-3 executive committee.

“The basketball went through as proposed,” the MHSAA’s Williams said.

The proposal will have to pass a second time in February to become policy for the 2014-15 school year.

The proposal is to expand the state tournament field to eight teams (four North, four South( in classes 1A through 4A, and to six teams (three North, three South) in classes 5A and 6A.

Two previous proposals to expand the state tournament field have failed to receive executive approval on the second vote.

“I think everybody’s on the same page this time,” Calhoun City boys basketball coach Draen Coffey said. “I’ve talked with basketball coaches in all (eight) districts. We all want change.”

The new proposal would eliminate playing North and South state tournaments at one site. Instead, the top-seeded teams would host games.

gene.phelps@journalinc.com

  • Penny Oakley

    I applaud Smithville’s Chad O’Brian for his proposal. I am also a public school product and Coach Lowrey is right, we FIRMLY believe there’s an unfair advantage. Take for instance Piney Woods. They participate in Class 1A. Their boys basketball team is head and shoulders above everyone else. Also there are very few 6A teams that can beat them. Year after year, they boast stellar teams. Last season, they had a 6 foot 9 guy from the Bahamas who signed with Ole Miss. If all the other 1A schools sought out a 7 foot guy, he would never get to play because he would be out of high school before he becomes eligible.