The GHSA split Class A into public and private divisions this academic year, but that hasn’t ended private-school domination elsewhere.
Even with only 10 private schools in AAA and AA, private schools have won 10 of the 17 AAA/AA state titles so far. The 113 public schools in AAA and AA have claimed the other seven.
That doesn’t count swimming, which doesn’t have AAA or AA classes, but a combined AAAAA-A. If that sport had AAA and AA, it would be 14 to 7, privates ahead. Westminster has its own pool, after all.
But it’s not just swimming and cross country and volleyball that the privates have dominated.
Last week, private school athletic superiority was evident on the hardwood of the basketball state finals in Macon. Greater Atlanta Christian (boys) and Wesleyan (girls) won the Class AA championships. GAC’s average margin of victory was 25.4 points. Wesleyan’s was 38. Both won their state championship games by wide margins.
In AAA, private school St. Pius won its third state championship this academic season with its girls basketball team. St. Pius won both cross country state titles.
Johnson, one of Savannah’s public schools, won the AAA boys title. What if Marist had chosen to play AAA, where its enrollment falls, instead of AAAA? Perhaps Johnson still wins, but it’s something to think about.
To the public schools’ credit, they have swept AAA and AA championships in softball, wrestling and cheerleading.
As for the privates, note that it’s really the metro Atlanta seven that do the damage. They are Blessed Trinity, St. Pius and Woodward Academy in AAA and Westminster, Greater Atlanta Christian, Lovett and Wesleyan in AA. All seven have won state titles so far. The three outside of metro Atlanta are largely benign. Those are Benedictine, St. Vincent’s and Riverside Military Academy. That’s two military schools and a girls Catholic school.
The reasons for the sports success of private schools are often debated. Private schools usually have better athletics facilities and resources than public schools, and student-athletes and their parents increasingly want to be a part of that. Private schools also may enroll students from anywhere. Public schools are largely restricted to students living in their school districts.
What do you propose to do?
- Reinstate the multiplier and have private schools compete at their enrollment level times 1.5 or 2.0.
- Further divide public and private schools into upper and lower private and upper public divisions. Consider all-classification championship in sports that would allow it.
- Leave it the way it is. Seven state championships per sport are too many as it is. Public schools just need to compete better.