Should Private High Schools Have Their Own Basketball Tournament?

Recently, there has been a big cry that Private High Schools have an advantage as many people think they recruit athletes. Some has gone so far as to even suggest that they should have their own tournament

I am going to reveal some myths or unknowns about the private high school vs. public high school debate about what all Maine High schools can do as far as recruiting and transferring is concerned.

There are 139 high schools in Maine playing basketball.playing high school under the MPA’s auspices.  Approximately 23% are either semi-private or private, Semi-private high schools are usually listed as Academies, and they accept students from their own town/district, out of town tuition students, foreign tuition students, and foreign exchange students, etc. Private Schools are tuition based.. In Public Schools there is no tuition unless students do not live in the town or district

Basically, all Maine High Schools can recruit students so long as they are not for athletic purposes.

Students can transfer from one school to another if they change domicle, or if they get an MPA Transfer Waiver Form signed by the student(s), parent(s) and the sending and receiving principals that the transfer is not for athletic purposes. This makes them immediatley eligible.

All Maine High Schools are governed by these rules. The problem comes when 1. Some recruiting for athletic purposes does take place 2. the transfer maybe for athletic purposes and is granted the waiver 3. Recruiting by parents and players can occur  outside of school basketball as players from different schools play together.

These type of recuiting and transfer violations are hard to prove, so they usually go unchallanged.My personal experience as a Coach/AD in Public High schools for 21 years and as a Coach/AD for another 13 years in a Private High School gives me experience in both sectors concerning these issues.

When I was in the Public High Schools I never got accused of recruiting, but when I was in the Private Sector I was constantly accused of recruiting basketball players, and I believe only because we were very successful.

We had a school rule that stated that any coach who was found guilty of recruiting would automatically be terminated.

Anytime anyone on our school staff was approached about a student transferring for athletic purposes were told to tell the persons that the school did not accept any student transferring for athletic purposes. We took care of these situations in house.

Interestingly, I had some parents of our incoming freshmen and upperclassman complain to me that they and their son/daughter had been recruited by some public high school coaches. But, it never went further then that because the parents did not want to get involved.

Just on the fact alone, that there are many more public high schools then private high schools might lead one to believe that just the law of averages of the numbers might play into who does the most recruiting for athletic purposes.

The Private Schools did have a slight advantage with the original transfer rule because that rule stated  if a student transferred from one public high school to another and they did not change domicle then they were ineigible to participate in athletics for a year from the date of transfer. However, students transferring to Private Schools were eligible immediately.

However, there were very few Private High Schools when that rule was in effect, therefore there was no outcry about the Private High Schools having an advantage.

Over the years. Private High Schools have not dominated high school State Championships.

All high schools in Maine Public or Private have the right to attract students , Step Up Days, Transfers, Foreign Students, and Foreign Exchange Students so long it is not for athletic purposes.

The MPA’s Recruitment and Transfer Policies/Rules are very detailed and cover all aspects of Recruiting and Transfer Possibilities.

The problem is that it is very hard to prove recruiting and transfers for athletic purposes. Remember this is high school basketball, not College NCAA D1 Basketball

However, the fact  Private High Schools take alot of heat for so called recruiting, which many times is based on not knowing the MPA’s Rules, individual student’s circumstances, bias, opinions, rumors, poor facts, etc.

So for those who don’t know all the MPA Recuiting and Transfer Rules, real facts and circumstances, and still feel that Private High Schools recruit for athletic purposes, they should not point to Private High Schools without all the facts as they accuse them of recruiting for athletic purposes….lets call it a mathamatical tie as the MPA has not had to deal with many complaints about recruiting or transfer violations over the years.

Remember all Mane High Schools have the same opportunity to recruit students for non athletic purposes. SOME JUST WORK AT IT HARDER THAN OTHERS AND USUALLY BECAUSE OF BUDGET CONDITIONS AND NEW STUDENTS BRING IN TUITION MONEY.

Public high schools are not under the scrutiny that Private High Schools have been or are currently.

Only when private high schools win state championships does it really become an issue.

You can decide for yourself, but please make sure you have all the facts before making up your mind if you would like to see a Private High School Tournament for about 17 schools.

I for one would not want one, nor do I think we need one.

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