Wednesday, February 6, 2008

La Salle Column Follow Up

Regarding my comments about Albany Academy in a column that ran in Monday's paper, I take full blame for not doing my homework on that one. It is the first year there for their coach, and he inherited the roster. He had no role in recruiting or the team's lone transfer this season.

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That said, I still do believe the private schools have a distinct advantage over the public schools athletically because in a sense, all private school athletes are "recruits." Parents with the means to send their children to private schools certainly have the right to do so., don't get me wrong.
Certainly, a good number of the players on private school teams are students that have been going to private schools all their lives - so most student-athletes aren't solely there for sports.
Looking at the standings, is it any surprise that the private schools (with the exception of La Salle) are all at the top? With the "recruiting" advantage, is it any surprise that the public schools are all at the bottom of the Big 10? (What about the Suburban Council teams facings these schools in sectionals?)

I'm a public school guy myself, so there's my bias. But one of my favorite aspects of playing in high school was that by the time we were all seniors, we had been playing together for 10 years in different sports, throughout various seasons. That is why it is so hard for a public school coach to have continued success over a long period of time - the coach can only work with what players in the district choose to come out for their sport in any particular season.
Perhaps the public schools have an advantage in sports such as football that require a deep sense of trust and teamwork between players only developed by time. In basketball, one great player can often dominate a game singlehandedly - so these "recruited" dream teams have a distinct advantage.

I don't think "recruiting" by high school coaches and administrators is endemic to the private schools. Some of the area's public schools have also lured athletes into their programs with parents registering children under relatives' addresses, or doing other such things to ensure that their children are on a competitive team.
The private schools actually have that ability to attract whomever they would like, so I can only admonish those that skirt the public school rules.

Sometimes I get the impression that some of the kids these days are only playing to get to college (or because of parental pressure on this front) or to put their accomplishments on their resume. No sports news was sadder lately than the story of Kevin Hart. This high school senior from Nevada held a press conference on national signing day, choosing Cal over Oregon. Trouble was, neither of those schools had interest in Hart. The whole thing was a hoax - Hart just wanted to play DI football "more than anything."

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As confusing as the motivations behind high school sports have become, I had the opportunity to see two fantastic games last week. Hoosic Valley beat Cambridge on Tuesday thanks to buzzer-beaters to end the third and fourth quarters. On Friday, CBA scored 20 unanswered points to rally from a 16-point deficit, only to have Bishop Maginn knock down a 3 at the buzzer to force overtime.
It was enough to make me completely forget about all the politics surrounding youth sports - a feeling I could get used to.

-- Will Montgomery

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This issue would seem to be resolved in my college experience... the SUNY schools have dominated against private schools plenty of times since I've been here. But it does remind me exactly of the d1 vs. d3 issue, except of course that going to a private high school means paying a lot more, whereas going to a d1 school often means a free ride! in any situation, im glad we agree that it is always better when we can forget about the politics and enjoy athletes participating for the love of the game. no matter what school or program these high schoolers find themselves playing for, the idea should be to bond with teammates and love what they do!

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