Prep notes

ILLINOIS PREP NOTES: Public vs. private prep sports debate continues

2014-06-26T17:45:00Z 2014-08-13T17:37:07Z ILLINOIS PREP NOTES: Public vs. private prep sports debate continuesMike Nieto mike.nieto@nwi.com, (219) 933-3232 nwitimes.com
June 26, 2014 5:45 pm  • 

Is the line about to be drawn in the sand again?

The question of whether or not private or non-boundary schools should have separate tournaments is being raised again. Officials from the West Suburban Conference are beginning to construct a proposal to the Illinois High School Association that could create such that for the state series.

An IHSA spokesman confirmed that Addison Trail principal Adam Cibulka was quoted in an article regarding the proposal aimed at leveling the playing field between public and on-boundary schools. Cibulka was out of office Thursday afternoon when The Times tried to reach him.

IHSA executive director Marty Hickman said in a news release that he is not in favor of the separation.

"IHSA member schools have the ability to exercise their right to submit by-law proposals and we encourage them to act accordingly. On a personal level, I would hate to see a separation between our public and private schools," Hickman said. "I believe both our membership and our state series tournaments are stronger under their current unified format. The size and diversity of our membership create unique challenges and I respect a school's desire to use our legislative process to create change when they believe it is needed. However, the IHSA has managed to thrive for decades with public and private schools competing together in the state series, and I personally do not believe that has to change now."

Marian Catholic football coach Jerry Verde has been on both sides. As a student-athletes at Marian Catholic, he won a Class 4A state football title in 1993. As head coach at Crete-Monee, he led the Warriors to the 2012 Class 6A title. Verde said having separate champions doesn't make sense.

"I think it would diminish the prestige of winning a state championship," Verde said. "You are kind of watering down a state tournament."

Former Richards football coach Gary Korhonen is against such a proposal. Korhonen is the state's second winningest coach with 315 wins, behind Mount Carmel's Frank Lenti.

"We were right in the hotbed of Catholic schools with St. Laurence, Brother Rice, Marist, St. Rita and we'd lose a few to Carmel, but that never bothered me," Korhonen said. "I think this would water it (the state series) down. I used to say that we had free bus and free tuition to our doorstep and if we can't keep our kids home, that's our fault."

The IHSA imposes a 1.65 multiplier on non-boundary schools and the IHSA has implemented a "success factor," which is being delayed until the 2015-16 school year in which non-boundaried schools would move up in classification based on its postseason accomplishments over a four-year period.

In Illinois, non-boundary schools won 24 team title in 2013-14, locally Mount Carmel winning the Class 7A state football title and Illinois Lutheran winning the Class 1A baseball title. Kjenstad said his school, of 110 students, did not have an advantage. In fact, every team the Chargers beat in the tournament had a bigger enrollment than Illinois Lutheran. Kjenstad went to high school in Wisconsin, which until 2000 had separate tournaments for its public and private schools.

"If Wisconsin went away with it, maybe it is not a good idea," Kjenstad said. "We want people to come to our school to get a Christian education, not just for sports."

Todd Clark, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association's director of communication said Wisconsin has open enrollment statewide, meaning every school – public or private – is non-boundary.

"We fell that no one school has an advantage," Clark said.

T.F. South players pick colleges: Jessica Maricich will continue her college career by playing rugby at Eastern Illinois University.

Classmates Debo Akinsanya, Efie Ovie and Wendell Daniels will play sports in college.

Akinsanya will play soccer at Roosevelt University. Daniels will play basketball at Prairie State and Oive will play football and track at Lindenwood University.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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