Sunday, March 04, 2007

Where's the Crybabies?

Indiana high school athletics are a sight to behold, more often for the spectacle than the sports.

There’s a clear line of demarcation drawn through 1979 separating those who graduated with single-class basketball and those forced to endure the dehumanizing dilution of four state champion teams. Radio and print hacks still trot out that nugget when the phone lines go limp, but largely most folks have agreed to either keep watching or ignore it altogether.

That basketball debate has fizzled in recent years and been supplanted by an argument over the perceived inequities between public and non-public (read Catholic) high schools, especially concerning football championships. Certain public schools favor segregating all non-public/Catholic/undefined boundaries schools into a separate division that would not vie with public schools for championships. In short, some public school are tired of losing and feel their only avenue to the podium is a rule change.

Chief among the flippant arguments fans and administrations of these public schools toss out is the assertion that non-public/Catholic/undefined boundaries schools recruit their players. This claim holds no water, except for speculation surrounding a certain unnamed Indianapolis school. In earnest debates, I’ve asked many detractors to point beyond that one unnamed school only to hear concessions and backtracking.

Recruiting between schools is largely a non-issue, but I’ll in no way say it’s non-existent. However, the venom of the debate is solely focused on non-public/Catholic/undefined boundries schools.

Riddle me this then…where’s the damn outcry over comments in today’s Indianapolis Star from a player at Thomas Carr Howe Academy, a public high school? Terry Hill, a senior at Howe had this to say about teammates Keyon Milliner and Greg Foster who were integral in Howe’s upset over Roncalli, a Catholic high school, in the sectional final.

"I'm glad we got my two friends, Keyon and Greg, to come play with us. Now we're just a great complete team, and I don't think nobody can stop us."

Milliner and Foster sat out the requisite 365 days of competition after transferring from Arsenal Tech. This means Milliner and Foster left Tech in March of 2006, not at semester end but in the middle of the year…to play basketball for Howe...with guys from their traveling team.

There's nothing wrong with it, and there's precedent. But, where’s the outcry? Howe won that game thanks to contributions from two players talked into switching schools. It’s right there. Milliner and Foster followed the rules and good for them. They’re on a championship team. But, the Sunday call in shows aren't overwhelmed with vitriol. Had the situation been flipped and Roncalli won with two formerly non-eligible players, most of Indianapolis would be in flames.

I guess it’s not so bad when it’s the public schools doing nothing wrong.


Crizzle said...

Did you catch the comments on the JMV show this afternoon Ross? Had me laughing how some people were going off on this very issue.

Ross McLochness said...

I liked Joe Hallowell's (president of Roncalli) comments stating again that Roncalli fans tipped their hats to Howe's victory.

Not much crying on Roncalli's end, but you know there would have been mass protests had the situation been reversed.

Anonymous said...

I love how the student who was quoted used a double negative! That's a fine IPS education...oh, my bad, perhaps he missed that day in English because he was transferring schools?
Ross, you are correct, had it been Roncalli, Chatard, Ritter, or Scecina then we would have never heard the end of it! But, it's IPS, so it's okay.
Isn't there something in the IHSAA bylaws about traveling teams and the number of players on a school team who are also on traveling teams together? It seems that in my high school some of our players were suspended a game by the IHSAA because of their participation in a Gus Macker Charity Event because three of them played together as a team and the IHSAA gods got wind of it, via a rival school, and all hell broke loose. But, I forgot, in this case, it is IPS we are dealing with and we bend the rules for them.