Proposal for letting success-starved athletic programs drop a class will go nowhere

The OSSAA is ruled by administrators of small districts that have little interest in the travails of those from the big cities
by Berry Tramel Published: September 16, 2012
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photo - Bridge Creek sidelines during a high school football scrimmage between John Marshall and Bridge Creek at Taft Stadium in Oklahoma City Thursday, Aug. 19, 2010. Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman. ORG XMIT: KOD
Bridge Creek sidelines during a high school football scrimmage between John Marshall and Bridge Creek at Taft Stadium in Oklahoma City Thursday, Aug. 19, 2010. Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman. ORG XMIT: KOD

Private schools in Oklahoma are penalized not just for the advantages that come with controlling your enrollment, but for winning too much.

So why should public schools in Oklahoma not be rewarded, not just for the disadvantages that come with lower-income student populations, but for losing too much?

That's the proposal to the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association, developed by the athletic directors of Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Putnam City public schools, urban districts with teams in a variety of schools and sports that have no chance at simple competing.

And speaking of no chance, the proposal will go nowhere, since the OSSAA is ruled by administrators of small districts that have little interest in the travails of those from the big cities.

Not that the plan necessarily should be implemented. It's a faulty premise — schools that have open enrollment (public, basically) that have greater than 50 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunches and a winning percentage below 30 percent over three years would drop down a class.

That's not the American way. That's not working your way to success. That's more handout than helping hand.

But maybe it's the Oklahoma way. After all, our state adopted the new plan that requires private schools that reach a certain threshold of success to move up a class.

What's good for the gander is good for the goose.

Schools that control their enrollment have a clear advantage. Not just private schools. Magnet schools, charter schools, boarding schools. But the OSSAA targeted only private schools that succeed in a particular sport.

Which gave Oklahoma City's Keith Sinor, Tulsa's Gil Cloud and PC's Dick Balenseifen ammunition for the natural extension, to boost up public schools whose teams are chronic losers.

The original private school plan is fundamentally flawed. Schools should not be penalized for success.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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