Discuss private school – public school issue
The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association Board of Directors addressed multiple issues at their last meeting Wednesday, the most noteworthy was the approval of basketball rule changes resulting in Class 6A and 5A district alignments.
With the rule change, 6A and 5A teams will be divided into four eightteam districts. While those district standings will determine playoff seedings, all teams are playoff participants.
The motion, which passed unanimously, also includes doubleelimination playoff tournaments.
Also on the agenda is the possible separation of public and private schools for all sports playoffs. After Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond’s “cease and desist” letter on March 10 threatened litigation against the OSSAA if they continued with a proposal to separate all public and private school sports playoffs (which had been favored by a large majority of OSSAA schools in a non-binding January survey), the issue had been tabled for further discussion.
Following an executive session discussing of the issue, a number of recommended adjustments were reiterated to the board for consideration. The recommendations had been suggested by a committee of both public and private school administrators in December 2022, which Parks co-chaired. With the OSSAA’s attorney in the room, the board decided to table the issue again while he reviewed the suggestions.
Despite the delay, OSSAA Executive Director David Jackson said the board might not be navigating away from the position of completely separating all public and private school playoffs, as it appeared ready to do back in February.
Among the recommendations presented was removing the cap that limited how many classes “successful” private schools could move up, re-defining “successful” as a top-four finish in the state in a particular sport instead of top eight, and uncoupling boys and girls teams in the same sport from moving up if one meets the successful designation and the other doesn’t, among other things.
“Right now, the way Rule 14 works is that if a school moves up a classification due to a bump, the smallest school in ADM moves down to replace them in the class that they came from,” said Mike Whaley, the OSSAA’s Associate Director, who presented the committee’s recommendations to the board. “The committee’s thought was you’re moving people up on success, shouldn’t you be moving people down based on success? Also, that should be a public school moving down. There were instances that had happened where a private school had moved up and a private school bumped down, just because that’s where the ADM was.”