Stopping the questions about public, private schools and potential no-nos.

The big topic that I have run into since coming here is the state’s dealing with private schools and their classifications.

With the new prep sports season set to commence in two weeks, it is fitting that it is amping up again.

I have been pulled into a number of conversations regarding this topic. Even when I simply share observations made on the subject, supporters of private schools come running, especially those from Bishop Miege High School.

They call me a “whiner” or creating “fake news,” (so much for the educational process there teaching creativity), and how I am a “hater!”

Hater? Oh, in my day, I loved playing teams and fanbases like theirs.

The argument is where they should play? Currently, the Stags’ athletic programs reside in 4A-I, although there is talk they could land in 5A, starting in 2018-19.

Sure, three battle in the formidable Eastern Kansas League full of 6A and 5A schools, but until St. James and STA who compete in the 5A playoffs, Miege, the fifth largest 4A-I school, goes up against mostly country town schools nowhere near a metro city like Kansas City which Miege can also draw from.

Yes, Miege could win 6A titles, but as many? I am betting no.

In my lifetime while watching everything from sports to news to politics, the biggest chirpers (trash talkers) usually tended to be someone who is shady or cheating. No, not the on-field back-and-forth, but the constant bombardment after the games or events have ended.

You see, people/teams cheat because they don’t have the talent or work ethic to win. This is a reality. So if you don’t know how to win, you likely won’t know how to handle winning.

The latter is where a large number of Bishop Miege fans and few coaches find themselves.

The old Shakespeare adage, “Protests too much,” is clearly the motto for Miege followers. Not only do they call out the “haters” time and time again, but they also like to add after winning, “Must be all that recruiting.”

Um, ok? That kind of talk does not help you with your pleas of innocence, even if you may, indeed, be.

I find it funny how they go around belittling people as whiners while the Miege fans and coaches do more of that than anyone else. That statement alone said after wins is not only a sign of poor sportsmanship but is so full of whining. “The hate fuels us” is sour grapes.

Now, do they have a point? Yes of course. The teams that lose to them are whining plenty, with some actually saying the privates shouldn’t be allowed to play for state titles against the public schools. Give me a break, really? 

Yes, public schools: Coach your kids up. Make your coaching better. Toughen them up mentally. Toughen them up physically. Trust me, there is plenty of motivational fodder you can use against a number of programs across the country like Bishop Miege.

Instead, the public schools mostly run and hide behind accusations and self-defeatism.

Public schools are not much better with open enrollment being the new thing in this country. Recruitment in public schools is rampant and shouldn’t be allowed. You have to recruit to win in a public high school? Yeah, you aren’t a good coach. Go actually build with the kids of the taxpayers’ money that sent those original kids to your school in the first place.

We have had plenty of talk around here in recent years about teams having done things like this and really no area of the country can claim they have never even heard of such things potentially happening.

Private schools have to recruit to survive because they don’t have a guaranteed student populace allotted to them. Recruitment isn’t the problem, it’s how they do it and how badly one skirts the rules.

Too many people believe Miege lends itself to the “Where there is smoke there is fire” theory. But does anyone have anything concrete? No, not yet and maybe not ever.

Yet, that doesn’t matter to me. What matters to me is the state’s insistence that these private schools are allowed to swim in the smaller ponds.

Bishop Miege, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. James Academy in this area and Bishop Carroll and Kapaun in Wichita should all be 6A schools, period.

The reason? Simple. They have a much larger population base to recruit from without much other private school interference. With only three major programs on the Kansas side of the metro and a handful on the Missouri side, they have their run of the lot. The three local ones have their pick of the litter. 

Oh and yes, when you give a family an education that involves a tuition for free, you are paying them. It’s essentially a voucher so don’t say you aren’t giving money. You are giving them money they never had to attend your school.

In bigger cities across the country there are so many private schools that competition for bodies is greater and yet many times they use multipliers of 1.5 to 2.0. This means if the enrollment of Private School A is 500, they get marked as a 750 enrollment or more. In Kansas with so few privates? It has to be a 2.0 or 2.5. This would make the big five all 6A schools.

We need a multiplier of some type for the privates unless one, like our now closed down Immaculata, can prove a consistent dropping of enrollment and resources.

Miege doesn’t have either of those issues - at least not yet, though they could battle enrollment numbers in the future.

But the funniest thing of all about Bishop Miege and their bravado?

While they like to chirp after wins – boy these are the teams you live to play, at least in my world – I love how the whole community hides behind the state.

In many states, schools can petition to move up a classification. Miege is a 6A school masquerading as a 4A-I school – that’s funnier than any “Modern Family” episode. When you ask Miege supporters or coaches why not petition, here is what I hear:

“The state won’t let us.”

So a select group who won't challenge the status quo who represent Miege, call out people as whiners?

But the state doesn’t tell you you can’t at least try to petition, right? I mean make an effort? Go on public record: “We want to play 6A!” “We demand a chance to play among the best and biggest schools!”

But they don’t. If they at least went public then some public school supporters might take pause. 

It appears they don't do this, however, because they are scared that if they do petition, someone at the state might say “Why not, let’s let them do it.”

Now I have heard rumors that they have petitioned, but the state has not confirmed this.

Still: Be careful what you wish for, right?

The issue isn’t winning, but how schools do it. If they are above board, we shouldn’t really hear from them.

Some say you can only offend the offending.

Well for schools like Miege who like to tell everyone how offended they are by all the rhetoric? They sure seem to be ready for that next role in “Hamlet.”