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.
Absolutely it's proper to adjust for advantages. I don't know why it's so complicated. Just make any school that controls its enrollment — both in number and in particular individual — bump up a class. Seems perfectly fair, so long as you don't limit it to private schools.
But to single out only the successful, or only a certain segment of the advantaged, that's bogus.
And it leads to the slippery slope, as we see with the OKC/Tulsa/PC proposal.
Some other plans would more adequately address the problem. Allowing schools to play outside OSSAA designated districts, with no access to the official playoffs, would be a good start. The OSSAA currently doesn't allow it, because it might take 15 minutes extra administration.
Or limiting the number of teams in Class 6A football. That would help only a few schools, like U.S. Grant or Tulsa Edison, but it would have the biggest impact, keeping schools that trot out 20-man teams against the likes of Edmond North and Broken Arrow.
But again, the private school rule has set the course. Advantage is not the primary factor. Success counts equal.
Makes you wonder why we don't just move up all successful programs. And move down all non-successful programs. Because if you penalize success, you must reward lack of success.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.