The Daily DOB — March 3

March 3, 2014 21 Comments

In the midst of February Fever and into March Madness, people across the state of Illinois are still buzzing about the Illinois High School Association’s decision to add a “success factor” to non-boundary schools in future school years. It means successful programs like the Quincy Notre Dame girls basketball team will be pushed all the way up to Class 4A in future years because they are winning too much.

I wrote a little bit about the rule and Matt Schuckman had an excellent column on the topic. Us old men can whine all day about kids getting ripped off. I think it means a lot more when the students speak out, and they are starting to voice their opinion. A group called “Fight the Bump” has mobilized and it’s expressing its displeasure with the rule. They have their own website and a video that has been posted to YouTube that makes some great points. They have started a petition they plan to give to the IHSA to show officials how people across the state are against the policy.

The video was really well done. I think it helped that it was voiced by a high school student. The group doesn’t name call or bad mouth the IHSA. Instead, it makes points about how the policy unfairly penalizes schools and athletes for past teams’ success. I was really thrown by the cross country example given by the group. One school goes from a podium finish in one class to not even coming close to placing with “the bump.”

If you have a few minutes to waste on a Monday while trying to get into your week. Check out the group’s video:

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  1. Eric Ervin says:

    The hypocrisy of the IHSA is really highlighted by this video. The question the IHSA refuses to answer, as well as those schools/fans that support this decision, is how do those public schools that have “out of the norm” success, do it? The IHSA, is in essence, saying private schools only win because they are getting stud athletes from outside their district. If that’s the case, then shouldn’t we assume that’s also the case with Rochester (football), New Trier (swimming & tennis) or Elmhurst York (cross country)? It’s just as easy to rent an apartment somewhere, as it is to pay tuition to a private school, right? And while I can’t swear to this, I believe Illinois allows students to attend a public school in another district, as long as they pay a tuition rate established by the Illinois Board of Education. I was told that QHS had a young lady play tennis last year that did this very thing (and no, I’m not claiming QHS did anything wrong if this is true). But if that is indeed the case, than it really puts a crimp in the IHSA’s argument that only private schools benefit from students outside their district.

  2. Chris says:

    It amazes (and disappoints me) that you would publicly recommend and promote this website. People are so quick to substitue their judgment for the judgment of the IHSA. Let’s see: Who is in the best position to evaluate this issue in an unbiased and comprehensive manner? Don’t think private school supporters qualify….

  3. Robert Hop says:

    >> saying private schools only win because they are getting stud athletes from outside their district<> I believe Illinois allows students to attend a public school in another district, as long as they pay a tuition rate established by the Illinois Board of Education.<> I was told that QHS had a young lady play tennis last year that did this very thing<<

    Sure and I’ll tell you she just won all four Grand Slam events, she’s that good.

    The Bump Video has more errors than the original Health Care website. But it does sound good. That’s all that counts for those who are looking for flash over substance.

  4. Chris says:

    You are incorrect. Generally speaking, under section 3.031 of the IHSA bylaws, in order to be eligible to play for a public school, a student must “attend a public school within the boundaries of the attendance area of the high school they attend.” They cannot play for any school they want, “as long as they pay tuition.” That is an important distinction from private schools, which can enroll students from within a 30-mile radius. How does Rochester do it? A variety of reasons, but NOT with students from outside their district. Compare their situation to the QND girls, who have had the benefit of many students–all-Staters, no less–from outside their district in recent years (Bunte, Barnes, Martin, etc).

  5. Adam says:

    Chris, you have a good point. I am a co-founder of this website, and, as the blog mentions, I am a high schooler from a private school. Your argument is valid because, of course, my school will be affected by this, so we obviously side with the non-boundary schools. However, who is in a better position than two private school high school kids to try to fight it? If private school (non-boundary school) supporters do not qualify to fight this, then I don’t know who will, seeing as public schools will not even be affected by it.

  6. Eric Ervin says:

    Chris, do you think it’s fair that ONLY private schools are affected by this decision? Do you honestly think that a private school should have to potentially play up 3 classes in football, while public schools with the same success ratio, are allowed to stay in the same class? And if public schools in Illinois are able to accept tuition paying students from outside their district, then what advantage do private schools actually have then? Finally, why doesn’t the IHSA, or public school supporters, address excessive public school success? Why is okay for the Simeon boys to win four straight basketball titles, but not for Montini to do it in football? Or, is this simply a case of not liking a “certain” private school, and anything that impedes their success is alright?

  7. Chris says:

    Adam,
    The IHSA’s system is far from perfect. I will be the first to admit that. However, I look at the this issue from the perspective of smaller, public schools who have to compete against private schools in their area. Those schools can’t attract impact athletes. In some cases, they actually lose impact athletes to private schools like QND. The end result is that, in some cases, they have NO CHANCE of competing for a regional or sectional title, much less a State championship, unless the private school is bumped up. We are told to simply “try harder,” which is insulting.

  8. Chris says:

    Eric,
    I know nothing about the tennis player from QHS, but public schools in Illinois are NOT allowed to attract tuition-paying athletes from another district. That is precisely the reason why private schools enjoy an advantage. You are obviously a QND fan, so let me ask the question: Do you honestly think that the Lady Raiders would be the same program they are today without the contributions of Bunte, Barnes, Martin, Rigg, etc? Sure, they have had some wonderfully talented, homegrown players, too, like Gengenbacher (X3) and Frericks, but other coaches in the area would kill to have one all-Stater dropped in his lap, while QND has had four in less than a decade! And this winning streak that they are on didn’t start until Barnes and Bunte arrived! And why would you compare Simeon to Montini? Simeon is public, but it is also a non-boundaried school! The fact that it has won four consecutive State championships supports my side of the argument, not yours.

  9. Chris says:

    Adam,
    I commend you for taking up the cause on behalf of your school. One problem is that no two schools are the same and no two sports are the same. I have long said that the multiplier is a lousy solution to the problem because it is a “one size fits all” approach. The success factor is more direct in its approach, but it still has its flaws. However, how fair would it be if the IHSA eliminated both of those efforts to level the playing field? I can tell you that some private schools in Illinois would have to build a new wing, just to display all of the trophies that they would win. And smaller, public schools in their area would have little or no chance to compete with them, no matter how hard they work and no matter how good their coaches are. Yes, I am sure that there are circumstances where the success factor is “unfair” to some private school programs (like, perhaps, the Decatur St. Teresa cross-country program), but it does level the playing field for many, many more schools who would otherwise be David fighting Goliath. The difference for me is that the success factor only applies to schools that have already experienced uncommon success and who is to say that could not continue if they are moved up a class?

  10. Christy says:

    I do not live in your area but came acroos this… REALLY???? Do you think public schools do not “recruit?” I know all they have to do is rent a cheap apartment and enroll their kids in that school. From what I see, all this multiplier does is get kids hurt in the contact sports because they are playing bigger schools. and this new ruling… you are punishing kids that have worked hard and want it. And you are going to bump the school up after those kids are gone because lets be real…a freshman or sophmore in high school is typically NOT going to make it to a state title for 4 years!! If this rule stands it whould be made for ALL schools!

  11. Randy says:

    Chris
    Please tell me of the four players that you mentioned above were impact players in the last 3 State Championships QND has won?

  12. Robert Hop says:

    Eric Ervin – you too are confused.

    If you don’t live in a particular public school districts boundary, you can pay tuition to attend but you can NOT play sports.

    The only way a football program would move up 3 classes is if they continued to get the championship game. That’s the only way. That’s success. It applies only to non-boundary schools is because they have the ability to attract athletes from a 30-mile radius from their school. A public school does NOT. They have a defined boundary. It’s that simple.

    Simeon boys basketball DOES have the multiplier added. It’s a non-boundary school. CPL schools are non-boundaried. In addition, they play in the highest class. There is no where to move them. When you’re that good, you’re that good.

    If Montini, Mt. Carmel, etc… win 8A, God love them.

  13. Robert Hop says:

    I leave you with 1 more tidbit.

    QND has opportunity to have every student in the Quincy area attend their school. Every…single…student. Actually, more than Quincy High as they can attract students from a 30-mile radius for athletics.

    Quincy High has to play in 4A girls basketball. Why should QND not have to play in 4A girls basketball? Their public counterpart does based on their enrollment. QND can pick off everyone of those kids “if” they can get an agreeable parent/athlete.

  14. Adam says:

    Chris, I completely respect your position and applaud your questions. Our goal with this video is to spread awareness of what’s going on with this new rule. That being said, I completely understand where you’re coming from with the postseason success topic. Here’s our problem though: we assume the multiplier and it’s subsequent multiplier waiver levels the playing field in a sense. If we can agree on that then the field is fair. Now this success factor only applies to a select group of schools. We feel, like the video says, that the advancement in class due to success is an honor, and maybe we would have success in a higher class, but why should this only apply to non boundary schools if the multiplier already levels the playing field.

  15. Chris says:

    Randy,
    Here is the history. In Orne’s first seven seasons as the QND coach, the Lady Raiders won three regional championships, one sectional championship, and made zero State tournament appearances. In his eighth season, which was Renita Bunte’s senior year (Bunte is from Payson), they placed 4th. Chloe Barnes (Mendon) was a junior on that team. They lost in the regional final the following season. They next season, they placed 2nd in the State, followed by three straight State championships. During that same period of time, Torie Kuhn (transfer from QHS), Morgan Martin (Hamilton/Warsaw), Ari Rigg (Palmyra), and Gracie Barnes (Mendon) were a part of the program. Bunte, Chloe Barnes, Kuhn and Martin all earned all-State honors while playing at QND. The only team that won a trophy with what can fairly be described as “homegrown talent” was last year’s State champion. This year’s team includes a freshman from Hannibal.

  16. Chris says:

    Christy,
    This discussion has NOTHING to do with recruiting. I have never claimed that QND has acquired any of these players “illegally.” Yes, there are some public schools that recruit players, just like there are some private schools that recruit players. The multiplier and the success factor aren’t designed to “fix” that problem. Instead, private schools have the inherent advantage of being able to attract players from outside their district, within a 30 mile radius. In QND’s case, this would include Liberty, Payson, Camp Point, Hamilton and even Hannibal, MO. By the way, your math on the effect of the success factor is way off. First of all, by definition, it only applies to teams that have been very successful. In basketball, for example, the school must have made two final fours in a 4-year period. That means that a student will NEVER “play up” all four years of their high school career UNLESS their team continues to experience uncommon success. If they do, what do they have to complain about?

  17. Chris says:

    Adam,
    As I said previously, the multiplier is and always has been a horrible solution. I appreciate the fact that you are trying to remain fair and balanced, but there is no avoiding the fact that private schools can (and sometimes do) attract students from outside their boundaries, within a 30-mile radius. For some privates, this means nothing. For other privates, it means everything.

  18. Adam says:

    Oh for sure! We just really find it hard to understand why it only applies to non-boundaries. The multiplier makes up for the advantages, as far as I’m concerned. That being said, I wouldn’t be as mad if it applied to all schools. I mean, what’s the difference between public school domination Nd private school domination?

  19. chris says:

    So if the success factor was applied to public schools, you would be OK with it? If so, you are in the minority of private school supporters. I have heard and read many complaints about “punishing success” and “sending the wrong message to kids.” Those arguments would apply to public and private schools alike. I have already stated that the multiplier is a failed experiment. I wish the IHSA would abolish it, primarily because it does affect schools with no history of success. The success factor, on the other hand, only affects schools that have already experienced uncommon success. A majority of those schools have historically benefitted by attracting athletes from outside their district boundaries (Montini, Marian Catholic, and QND being prime examples), which is the justification for applying the rule to privates only. Is it perfect? Not by a long shot, but it is certainly better than doing nothing at all.

  20. Greg says:

    This is part of a decades long effort by some schools to remove the Catholic schools from the IHSA. With the addition of Montini, Marion Central Catholic, and Marmion, the Chicago Public League now covers a geographic area which includes 75% of the population of IL. Time for the Catholic/Private League to leave the IHSA and expand to invite the remaining private schools and conferences.

    Here’s a brief history of the efforts against Catholic schools:

    In 1985, the Interstate Eight Conference proposed a bylaw that the IHSA should exclude private schools from competing in state tournaments, though the membership voted this proposal down.

    In 2005, the Board of Directors implemented a multiplier for classification purposes that boosted the enrollments of non-boundaried schools by a factor of 1.65

    In December 2005, the member schools voted 450–143 to retain the 1.65 multiplier

    Finally, when all those rules couldn’t keep them from winning, they launch this gem: non-boundaried schools who have experienced success beyond the norm will play up a classification.

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