Rivalry between schools hints of bigger problem



December 10, 2019 - 10:04 AM

Here is a fun fact for you: The Kansas State High School Activities Association recently awarded 15 state championships to 4A and 5A schools. Nine of them were won by private schools.

Well, maybe that isn’t such a fun fact if you are a student-athlete in one of those competing public schools. But it sure is a fun math fact. A full 60% of the championships were won by private schools, despite the fact that private schools only make up about 5% of all 4A schools and about 10% of all 5A schools.

Wow, that’s impressive. Or, maybe, we should do some more math. Look at some fairly typical 4A schools in our area. Those include Baldwin City, Eudora and Tonganoxie. They all have district boundaries set by the state. In very rough numbers, their districts have a population of 5,000 to 10,000 people. That’s where these schools get their students and their athletes. Now, look at the private Bishop Miege school, which just won its sixth consecutive 4A state football championship. Private schools don’t have boundaries set by the state, and that is quite an advantage. While the enrollment at Miege and typical 4A schools are similar, the talent pool they have to draw from is not. Miege basically is on the outskirts of Overland Park, a community of just under 200,000 people. In reality, the school is pretty easy for any students in the Kansas City metro area of about 2 million to attend, if they have the financial means or a scholarship.

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