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Hutch News sports reporter sees the light on public vs. private PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 09 June 2014 12:24

Kyle McCaskey, a sportswriter for the Hutchinson News has been recognized in the past as the Sportswriter of the year by the Kansas High School Activities Association.

In a recent edition of the Hutch News, McCaskey reached a startling revelation that KSHSAA seems to be out of competitive balance, and it has to do with private and public schools.

I have been writing on the subject since 2007 because the disparity hits Class 5A the hardest, but it’s better late than never, and now, after seven years of beating the drum, another reporter in Kansas dared to broach the subject.

McCaskey did what I have done each and every year, comb through the championships and discover that private schools win an disproportionate amount of titles.

His numbers were sound.

Much like I have done, he left out Class 6A because there is not one private school in that class.

When comparing all other classes, McCaskey discovered that private schools only make up 9 percent of the schools but win 34.5 percent of the championships.

He also realized that private schools have a championship ratio of slightly better than 1:1 while public schools only have a ratio of 6:1.

And then the statement that probably will omit McCaskey’s name from future KSHSAA Writer of the Year ballots, “I think we have found the competitive imbalance.”

It took seven years, but someone else has finally joined the cause of creating a competitive balance to high school athletics in Kansas.

McCaskey points to Missouri as a possible solution to the imbalance, and it is not a bad one. I have suggested a similar adjustment several times over the past few years. Missouri takes a private school’s enrollment and multiplies it by 1.35, and then they divide schools into classes.

This is where I have gone a bit farther.

KSHSAA will crush McCaskey because they claim to have compared the Missouri solution and it didn’t prevent private schools form winning championships.

That was never the goal.

The goal was to create competitive classifications, and the private schools continued to win title in higher classifications.

A better system might be the one used in Oklahoma.

In that state, they look at private schools and their competitive history. They also look at free and reduced lunches, and they have created a system where a private school and public school match up in a balanced way that creates fair competition.

Being a lone voice in the wilderness for about a decade, there were those who believed I was picking on private schools. Absolutely not. I support a parent’s right to choose.

But I have been stating for a decade that this changes the playing field, and no one had the courage to point out the obvious or challenge KSHSAA on this inequity.

Until now.

Will anyone else join in the discussion? We will see. But it proves that I am not the only writer in Kansas that is willing to share the truth. Now what will KSHSAA do about it?

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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