Saturday, April 3, 2010

Public vs. Private

All four girls basketball champions from 2009 – Mt. Lebanon (AAAA), Archbishop Wood (AAA), Villa Maria Academy (AA) and Bishop Guilfoyle (A) – repeated as champions in 2010 last weekend at Penn State University.

Three of those schools, the exception being Mt. Lebanon, are private schools.

Neumann-Goretti won the PIAA Class AAA boys title and Sewickley Academy repeated as Class A champs, beating Reading Central Catholic in the final.

It's a continuing trend with private schools littering the smaller classifications and charter schools from District 12 (Philadelphia) with less-than-strict transfer laws making their way into the PIAA five years ago.

Since 2000, 10 private schools have won PIAA Class A girls basketball championships. The lone exception was Monessen in 2004. During the same span, 11 private schools have won Class A boys titles.

In Class AA, the numbers are 10 private schools in girls and seven in boys. Kind of makes you appreciate South Fayette's title run a little more, huh?

In Class AAA, private schools have won eight of the past 11 girls titles and three titles in boys.

Four private schools have won Class AAAA girls titles. No private school has won a Class AAAA boys title since 2000.

Larry Henry, the superintendent at Karns City High School in District 9, is part of a group attempting to do something about it. With the hopes of having private school compete in their own playoff system, Henry has sent a power point system to school administrators across Pennsylvania asking them to contact local legislators.

To view the file, click:


Anonymous said...

Mike, to even further drive home how statistically significant the number of championships are for private schools vs. public schools in the lower classifications, can you give a break down of how many private schools compete in Class A boys, Class AA boys, Class A girls, and Class AA girls as compared to how many public schools compete in those same classes? Its one thing that the private schools win as many titles as they do...but its completely another that they win that much when they are outnumbered by a 2-1 or 3-1 margin...or even more.

Anonymous said...

I live in District 6, and it's a major problem here in AA and A. I went back through the last 10 years, and of the 40 district basketball championships in those classes (boys and girls), 17 have been won by private schools. That becomes astonishing when you consider that out of the 36.5 combined schools in AA and A (girls have one more team in those levels, hence the .5), only THREE are private schools. That means in the last 10 years, 42.5 percent of the championships have been won by private schools, which make up just 8.2 percent of the membership.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree this issue needs to be addressed not only in basketball but across the board. Any school that can draw students from anywhere should not be competing at the same level as the public schools. They either should compete against each other or have to include all the areas they draw students from in their count for class determination.

blue said...


I know this problem would come up after the PIAA lobbied long and hard to bring the Philly schools into the state playoff system. It could be possible for Philly schools to take all classifications in the state playoffs in football and basketball in coming years.The only way to get the PIAA to address this problem is for the WPIAL schools to withdraw from the PIAA altogether.This will probably never happen, but there must be something that can be done to level the playing field.

mike_kovak said...

I'm not sure if Philly could sweep the football championships given the strong teams from the WPIAL and, occasionally, districts 3 and 10.

Basketball, however, is a different story. I was talking with someone about South Fayette's title and the person said it may never happen again. By never, a not-so-big public school beating a Philly school where transfers can come in midseason.

Anonymous said...

football is a different animal. since the piaa playoffs began in 1988 there is no data that shows that private schools have a statistically signifcant advantage over public schools. public schools, in fact, do quite well when it comes to football.

basketball, however, is a different story. i dont know what the numbers are exactly, but when you have 10% or 20% of the schools in pennsylvania winning 80-90% of the championships in one sport there is a significant problem.