It creates excitement

FACEOFF

Should Private Schools Be Allowed To Compete For State Championships?

November 13, 2008|By KATHERINE DUNN

Yes, private schools should be able to play for state championships. That's the only way to determine a true state champ.

Some other states, including Delaware, already have state and private schools playing for the same state championships.

Here, there are four public school state champions and up to three private school champions in each sport. That's a lot of champions.

I don't advocate lumping everybody into one big league for one title in each sport. Merging the private schools into the state's overall classification system based on their enrollment size would keep the playing field fairly even.

Naysayers would argue that still puts the public schools at a disadvantage because they can't bring in players from all over the area. They are restricted to students living within their boundary limits.

If that makes the private school teams so much stronger, why are public school teams sitting atop five of this week's seven Baltimore Sun polls? The playing field isn't exactly level for the public school teams anyway. Magnet schools draw students from all over a county while other programs are limited to one zone.

Often the most anticipated games in a season are those between a top public school team and a top private school team. Whole tournaments have been created just for that purpose.

In some cases, those early games can determine the No. 1 ranking for the season. How exciting would it be for a public school team to knock off Gilman in boys lacrosse or St. Frances in girls basketball? How exciting would it be for a private school team to beat Dunbar in boys basketball or Severna Park in field hockey? And how exciting would it be if that happened in the state championship game?

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