Wednesday, the present construction of Kansas high school sports was at risk.
The Kansas State High School Activities Association Board of Directors voted whether to create a private school classification, separate from public schools, to compete in their own championship competition.
The vote failed 43-21.
Jeff Hines, Paola principal and organizer of the effort to create a separate private division, said though the vote didn’t go through, he had a feeling it wouldn’t. While he would have loved to see his multi-year push come to an end, Hines said it was just another step toward change.
“Several people in our league made the comment that they felt like this was the nuclear option,” Hines said. “That said, we were able to cross one item off our list.”
There are about two dozen private schools that compete under KSHSAA guidelines. Only five compete in Classes 5A and 4A. None are in 6A. A separate private school division would pit Bishop Carroll against Elyria Christian, one of the smallest schools in Kansas.
The next opportunity at change will come at the May 1 KSHSAA Board of Directors meeting.
Over the past four years, Hines has put together two surveys that have proposed three methods to alter the public-private dynamic. A separate division was the most drastic.
One option is an enrollment multiplier, which would take all private schools’ enrollments and multiply it by, typically, 1.5. Hines said this is the most popular option for change and this is the most likely to pass.
A success modifier is the other option. If a team succeeds, it goes up in classification. Hines said the problem will be finding a unified front on whether to apply the modifier to all school or only private schools.
Hines said when he spoke, there were a lot of people looking at their feet or playing with their pen. He said he believed those people, “knew the things I was saying were right, but they didn’t vote to pass it through because they didn’t like the option that was presented.”
Hines said if KSHSAA votes to change the public-private dynamic, every KSHSAA member school gets a ballot and will vote whether to approve the proposal. Of the more than 350 Kansas high schools, a majority must approve. If that is achieved, at least four of the six classifications (6-1A) must ratify the change with the majority.
If all of that is done, it goes to the state legislature.
There is a statute that states enrollment is strictly determined by attendance. The legislature would then decide whether to make an amendment.
“It’s just a lot of layers,” Hines said. “This was just one of them.”
The vote on the public-private school dynamic wasn’t the only noteworthy piece of news to come out of Wednesday’s meeting.
The KSHSAA Board of Directors voted 42-24 in favor of extending the ineligible athletic period for high school athletes who transfer schools. It was at 18 weeks, or one semester. It is now 12 months.
The rule goes in effect at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year.
The change stops players from competing in a state tournament, transferring to another school the following week, and competing again for another school the following season.
The KSHSAA Board of Directors also voted 41-26 in favor of a proposal to allow Class 1A to split into two divisions for basketball and volleyball.
Since KSHSAA Executive Director Bill Faflick took over about 18 months ago, he has adopted a motto of, “Lead by listening.” Under his rule, KSHSAA has now:
Introduced girls wrestling as the 23rd KSHSAA-sanctioned sport
Voted on whether to create a separate private school championship classification
Changed the boys and girls golf championship tournaments from 18 holes to 36
Adopted high school football preseason jamborees
Changed transfer student-athletes’ ineligible period from 18 weeks to 12 months
Established a goal to go to at least one meeting for every league in Kansas