A week ago, the IHSA added a Success Advancement Component that will push successful nonboundaried (private, charter) schools up a class or more for state success. Sports editor Jon Styf and columnist Tom Musick discuss:
Styf: The immediate impact here is that the Marian Central football team will no longer play Montini in the postseason. Five straight years, the Hurricanes' season has ended with a loss to Montini. I think it's telling that Marian players, at least the vocal ones (I'm looking at you Shane Kirwan) don't like it for that specific reason. They want to play the best. They want to beat their rival in order to win anything.
Musick: I respect Kirwan's opinion. I also respect the opinion of Marian football coach Ed Brucker, who gave our Joe Stevenson this great quote: "If you aren't good enough, just try to get better. You don't legislate state championships. That's the way I feel about it." By crafting rules to bump up schools such as Montini, it sure seems like the IHSA is trying to do exactly that.
Styf: Since you brought up Joe, I'll simply paraphrase him here. The multiplier should take care of the public/private debate. This is going further. If this were 2016, Montini football would be bumped up three classes for its five straight state finals appearances. There's evening the playing field and there's going too far. This feels like going too far. Sometimes teams are just better. By pushing successful teams out of the lower classes, it will water down the product and value of a smaller-class title.
Musick: Imagine if we were having this conversation about NFL teams. The Green Bay Packers have reached the playoffs six times in the past seven years. The Bears have reached the playoffs once in the past seven years. Does that mean Roger Goodell should bump the Packers out of the NFC North and create some sort of "champions division"? Or does that mean the Bears should do everything possible to improve and to beat the Packers fair and square?
Styf: The issue here comes down to the fundamental theories in the public/private debate. The schools are inherently different, but the IHSA is saying here and with the multiplier that private schools have an advantage. A public school can dominate for years and stay put. A private school in the same conference/region cannot. The other interesting issue is the timeline of it. This fall, the Marian Central volleyball team will move up classes because they made the state finals in 2010 and 2011. I agree with their coach. If they made the finals the past two years, that's one thing. But making the finals three and four years ago shouldn't impact now.
Musick: Instead of focusing on what the IHSA does wrong, maybe it would be better if we focused on what it did right. Here, I'll start. Um. Uh. Hmm. .... Wait! I've got it! The IHSA is really smart when it comes to, um... Oh, forget it.