Emails on public school/private school flap
The new emails are in, and they’re loaded up on the public school/private school debate. We’ll hit the other stuff first, then jump into the big debate of the summer.
Joshua checked in on Game 4 of the NBA Finals: “The morning after Derek Fisher hits a clutch 3-pointer to tie the game and send Game 4 to overtime, everyone is jumping on Nelson for not ‘defending’ the 3 good enough. If you watch the replay, he had a hand in his face – the best you can do without fouling. If Jeff Van Gundy on ABC would not have said anything and just talked about Fisher’s great shot, then no one in the media (ESPN, sports radio) would even be talking about that.”
Yes they would. I would be, at least. Nelson’s defense was awful. He gave Fisher four or five feet. Fisher talked about how he likes to step into 3-pointers to get a shot off, and he had all kinds of room to get off that shot. Nelson’s hand in the face wasn’t much of a hand in the face. Terrible, terrible defense. In that situation, you guard the line. Nelson guarded the basket like he was afraid Fisher might decide to drive. I think it’s a psychological thing. Players are preached at all their lives to stay between their opponent and the basket, then every once in awhile in the final seconds of a game, they are told to give the guy the basket. The mind doesn’t transfer that easily.
Matt wrote about Justin Chaisson being placed on the OU roster: “Please tell me you are going to write a column about Chaisson. He kidnapped his ex and held a screwdriver to her throat. How does Stoops justify honoring his scholarship? This seems worse than Jarboe to me.”
Well, it does me, too. And I wrote about it a couple of months ago when it was obvious Chaisson was headed to Norman. About the only thing left to say is that Chaisson holds Stoops’ reputation in his hands.
Mark: “I appreciate you speaking your mind, but I am a little disappointed in your column about Blake Griffin and the Clippers. You are usually pretty upbeat but this was depressing. Couldn’t you include some of the positive? Such as his great salary; the hope he brings other young kids; the opportunity to play in the NBA; the chance to make the Clippers a better franchise like Lebron James did, etc. I, too, wish he had landed in a better place, but let’s make the most out of his opportunity and keep our standards high for him.”
Keep our standards high for him? Griffin is about to land in a cesspool. When you land in a cesspool, you don’t look for chemicals to clean it up. You try to get out of the cesspool.
Doyle: “In your column last Monday, you wrote about the quarterbacks who led OU to its seven national championships. You talked about pictures being taken of all the different guys and in one space you mentioned a picture being taken of Davis and Switzer. You said a picture was taken of ‘he and Switzer.’ Where did you learn to write? That sentence was (is) wrong. You wouldn’t take a picture of ‘he,’ you would take a picture of ‘him.’ There is an unwritten grammar rule about that kind of thing that says if you shorten your sentence to ‘a picture of he’ or ‘a picture of him,’ you will soon learn which is more correct. Get it? In this case, ‘a picture of him and Switzer’ is correct! You goofed, but then you do that a lot. Mike Stoops to Texas to replace Mack Brown? Bob Stoops to Cleveland? Bob Stoops to Denver? I could go on and on with your ridiculous predictions. Why don’t you just write about sports news instead of trying to predict the world of tomorrow? Then to make a grammatical error like you did is unforgivable.”
How about I just come over and you cut off my head.
Larry, our old Texas Tech fan, wrote about Bob Stoops: “No one should know better than a Sooner fan that any time you go into the head coaching market, it’s a crapshoot. Back in ’99, Oklahoma won the lottery. Bob Stoops is in my authoritative and widely sought opinion the gold standard for college football coaches. What he has accomplished in his 10 seasons at Oklahoma is astounding, and I’m not just referring to his won/loss record. He’s also a shining example for any father to point to in trying to instruct his son on how to conduct oneself as a competitive sportsman. I respect and admire the guy (and dearly wish he coached in another conference so I could continue to admire him from further afar). That he has doubters much less detractors among Sooner fandom befuddles me. I know a couple of yahoos who claim to have soured on him and wish Oklahoma would ‘move on.’ Neither of them actually attended Oklahoma University, but they’re both ‘No. 1 Sooner fans,’ walking talking authorities on all things OU. I don’t bother to debate the point with them. I might as well discuss politics with my dog.”
Great points, all the way, including about the dog. But the point about the crapshoot and lottery when hiring a coach is well-stated, and that’s EXACTLY why schools tend to hire head coaches. They want as much proven commodity as they can get. And it’s still a crapshoot. But it takes a lot of faith to hire an assistant coach. Bully for the decision-makers who do just that. The most successful coaches in OU history were not head coaches when hired. Stoops, Wilkinson, Switzer, Fairbanks. OSU has a long run of hiring quality assistants to be its head coach – Jim Stanley, Jimmy Johnson, Pat Jones, Bob Simmons, Les Miles, Mike Gundy, and it’s mostly paid off handsomely for the Cowboys.
OK. Time to move on to the public school/private school debate. I wrote that the OSSAA was correct in voting down the measure that would bump up most private schools two classes. My solution: move private schools and magnet schools up one class. But an even better solution, I said, was to start talking reasonably. Anyway. Let’s get to it.
Marc: “I had a daughter graduate from McGuinness in ’04 who played softball and basketball, and I have a daughter there now. I am on the booster club and am very involved with all athletic aspects of the school (and the politics that go along with them). I agree with you that there are a lot more knuckleheads in public school because knuckleheads don’t last long at schools like McGuinness before being shown the door. But how often do you see public school coaches keep these kinds of kids around? They might be at the school but not on the athletic teams. And can you tell me that the kids at McGuinness are better athletes overall than kids from John Marshall or Douglass? Millwood has more Division I athletes in five years than McGuinness has ever had. Our kids may be better coached and more disciplined but not better athletes. The sad part of all this is that none of it came up until McGuinness had a run of championships the likes of what no one has ever seen in this state. We had all kinds of allegations about recruiting and paying players, none of which is true. All but a handful of them came up through the traditional Catholic feeder schools. And the private schools even drastically reduced their boundaries before this year. But some people just can’t take losing so they have to point fingers at those who win and claim that things aren’t fair. Where were these complainers when we were in 5A and struggling just to make the playoffs? There wasn’t any whining back then.”
You know, this dilemma is not going to get anywhere so long as people keep making ridiculous statements. And the victim-mentality of the McGuinness people is not going to get us anywhere. This issue DID come up before McGuinness started winning championships. It came up to a vote in 1992 and again in 1998, and it was an issue even before that. And Marc is making the public schools’ point about knuckleheads; no, coaches don’t keep around the knuckleheads. But they’re still in school, counting against the enrollment in public schools.
William: “Your article regarding private and public schools (athletics) is dead on. I have personally witnessed my kids being the victim (short end of the stick) in multiple sports. My oldest son graduated high school last May. His high school soccer team advanced to the second round of the playoffs three years straight, only to lose (twice) to eventual champ Cascia Hall. This squad was an outstanding soccer team and could beat anyone in their class, except Cascia Hall. Cascia was just on another level. It was ridiculous. Likewise in football, my son’s last football game came at the expense of Bishop McGuinness in OKC.”
Now here’s a problem from the other side. It’s not a divine right to win a state championship. OK, so Cascia cost this team a state title. But public schools have been knocking out public schools for decades. That’s the way athletics work. The idea that everyone is entitled to a championship is off base, and to paint the private schools as infidels that are stealing state championships from deserving public schools is just wrong.
Chigger – I swear I don’t make up these names – disagreed with me: “No, the OSSAA did not make the right call. Prime example: In 2007, my stepson played at the state basketball tournament. We lost in the semis to OCS. According to their own information in the program, they had nine seniors on that team. Guess what, they went up a class in 2008 and still made it to state in basketball.. How did they possibly go up a class, lose nine seniors and still get back to state? I will tell you how, they cheat! The 2008 OCS team had a kid from Texas and another from Arkansas.”
Here we go again. OK, let’s repeat. If you want to see mass movement by players in high school, check out the public schools. Transferring is rampant, in both large and small schools. As for how OCS made it to state after losing the core of its team, well, how about tradition and strong coaching and lots of depth. Same way all kinds of public schools make it back.
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