Private leagues study shift in bylaws

Proposal would put non-public schools in line with MPSSAA

High Schools

October 04, 2005|By LEM SATTERFIELD | LEM SATTERFIELD,SUN REPORTER

Baltimore's governing bodies for private school boys and girls athletics are considering bylaw amendments that would end a rift with the state association and allow continued competition against public schools.

The organizations' relationship with the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association was jeopardized when the MPSSAA threatened to no longer sanction contests against the non-public leagues for declining to sign off on its Standards of Competition -- a revised list of 17 guidelines that was approved by the state board of education July 19.

But after a Sept. 14 meeting with state schools superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick and MPSSAA executive director Ned Sparks, the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association for boys and the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland for girls agreed to "propose changes in our bylaws that are more in line with [MPSSAA] standards," said MIAA director Rick Diggs, who will serve on a six-member committee. "We're looking to make these suggestions in the next 60 days."

The MIAA and IAAM govern 43 mostly Baltimore-area schools, with some as far away as Frederick and Montgomery counties and the Eastern Shore.

"Three quarters of the principals have to approve the changes," said Diggs, adding that the "wording" in rules regarding eligibility and transfers "needs to be tweaked to go along with how the MPSSAA does it. If successful, we'll continue to play the public schools and be approved for out-of-state competition."

Sparks said several Washington-area private schools already abide by the standards, including DeMatha, Good Counsel, McNamara and St. John's of the all-boys Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, and Bladensburg's Elizabeth Seton, an all-girls school.

But the Interstate Athletic Conference, composed of six schools in Washington, Virginia and Maryland -- including Montgomery County's Bullis School, Georgetown Prep and Landon -- "has issues with the four-year eligibility," Sparks said.

"They apparently have kids who played sports as ninth-graders at public schools and then repeated ninth-grade athletic competition at [IAC schools,]" Sparks said. "Under the standards, they would have to tell those kids that they can't play."

lem.satterfield@baltsun.com

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