Paola AD to discuss private schools' success before KSHSAA

By Steve Sell
January 06, 2017

A story in Thursday’s Kansas City Star is definitely a must-read for McPherson High sports fans.

According to a story by Star prep writer Sam McDowell, a hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in Topeka as Paola Athletic Director Jeff Hines will speak before the KSHSAA board.

The reason — to discuss what to do about private schools and their dominance of athletics.

Paola, which is strong in many sports, often has been grouped in sub-states and regionals with Miege, which currently is a state champion in six sports — approximately one-third. Much of the griping about private schools around the state revolves around Miege, which to many detractors is a sports factory. While Carroll, Aquinas, St. James, Topeka Hayden and Wichita Collegiate, among others, enjoy considerable success as well, they are dwarfed by Miege’s accomplishments.

Hines, the story says, will not submit a proposal, but will offer options, such as a multiplier that would tally enrollment, then multiply it by a pre-determined number. Another option is a modifier rule, which is success-based in a particular sport.

“Look, Miege has been a thorn in our side,” Hines said to The Star. “They’re winning way more than any school should. I want to make it clear that I’m not accusing Miege of going out and recruiting kids. I’m not saying that. But what I’m saying is the private schools that are attached to large major metro areas naturally attract a different caliber athlete.”

Hines’ lament is not new. McPherson High is one school that could gripe about Miege’s success if it wished, because Miege has been the difference between the Bullpups winning a lot more state championships instead of finishing second. According to The Star, Miege has 92 state championships, far more than any school in its class. Right now it’s the sixth-largest school in Class 4A Division I.

“We’re not ignoring what’s being talked about out there — and that’s why we developed a committee to discuss possible alternatives,” Jeremy Holaday, a KSHSAA assistant executive director, told The Star. “But we’ve asked some legal experts and they believe adding a multiplier or a success modifier would be fudging the actual numbers of student attendance. We don’t want to move too far forward if the law prohibits it.”

One Miege coach says the Stags’ success puts a lot of pressure on his team

"It’s frustrating for the kids because they read the same things everybody else reads. At times, people try to take away from the accomplishments they have and the work they put into it,” Miege football coach Jon Holmes told The Star. “It’s not easy to do the things we’re doing. Everybody expects you to win. The kids can feel that pressure from week to week.”

While nothing will probably come from Hines’ pleas before the high sports court on Wednesday, the furor will certainly continue until there’s finally an overhaul of the present system.