MHSAA to vote on proposal to remove private schools - - Jackson, MS

MHSAA proposal to remove private schools fails

CLINTON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The 13 private schools in the High School Activities Association will not be removed. MHSAA's legislative council took up the issue in their meeting this morning. The proposal failed because there was never a motion made to put it to a vote.

There's always been talk about whether public versus private school allowed for a level playing field. But some districts say the answer is no.

"Our independent school association, they have different rules of residence and requirements of eligibility, said Mississippi High School Activities Association Executive Director Don Hinton. "And so just some concerns there about some of our students in some of our parochial or private schools."

If they had approved the proposal, it would have removed the 13 private schools from the MHSAA.

"Majority of those schools have been a part of our association since the 1960's," said Hinton.

Smithville High School Principal Chad O'Brian first voiced a concern about eligibility in a coaches meeting this summer. His proposal passed 40-3. Some say current rules leave the opportunity for recruiting.

"Sometimes when schools are successful in their sports programs, there's all kinds of allegations," Hinton explained.

Madison St. Joseph is one of the private schools competing within the MHSAA.

"What have we done? Were there any infractions that we've done that would cause this to be an issue for the area schools?" asked principal Keith Barnes.

St. Joe's athletic director and football coach explains where their players come from.

"Public schools are part of a school district. Well, obviously we are not. So, they basically give us that mile radius that we have to abide by," said Coach Flip Godfrey.

It's a 20 mile radius that's set for private schools. Madison St. Joseph has already had calls asking what will happen.

"We're kind of concerned that, you know, we've been lumped into a situation where we are judged by the actions of other people or schools," Barnes explained.

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