Apr 18, 2012
Parochial schools, private schools with a standard curriculum that includes religion, may not be welcomed much longer in the N.C. High School Athletic Association.
The NCHSAA received two proposed amendments to the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws from member schools. The proposals were endorsed by six schools - Salisbury, West Rowan, South Rowan, East Rowan, North Rowan and Jesse Carson - meaning the members of the NCHSAA must vote on them.
Right now, the NCHSAA allows public and non-boarding parochial high schools to join the Association as long as it is accredited by the State Department of Public Instruction and abides by the NCHSAA rules. The proposed change would only allow schools that are "funded as a 'free public school'" to join the NCHSAA.
If the proposal passes, Charlotte Catholic, Bishop McGuinness and Cardinal Gibbons would be removed from the NCHSAA. In addition, Christ The King High School, which has been approved to join the NCHSAA next year, would also be removed.
In an e-mail to parents, Cardinal Gibbons Principal Jason Curtis said the proposal was unexpected.
"Cardinal Gibbons High School has been an exemplary member of the NCHSAA, and we intend to do everything possible to maintain our membership in the Association," Curtis wrote.
On Tuesday, the Diocese of Raleigh, the Diocese of Charlotte and the schools impacted by the proposal sent a joint response to the NCHSAA membership to present their side of the debate.
"While our schools do not have established geographic boundaries, we do deal with other factors that create boundaries for our system. Experience has shown that distance and transportation are two major factors for parents in school selection," the response read.
A student-athlete who attends one of these schools is not allowed to receive financial aid of any kind. If financial aid is given, the student is ineligible to participate in sports. In addition, a student who transfers from an NCHSAA member school to one of the member parochial schools is ineligible to participate for one year.
"When our system was admitted in the NCHSAA, we agreed to a transfer rule policy in order to address this issue. For the past 50 years, this policy, unique to our schools, has served to level the playing field," the response to the NCHSAA membership continued.
There was another amendment proposed regarding parochial schools in 1986 that was rejected by the membership.
A second proposal involves public charter schools.
Currently, charter schools who field athletic teams are eligible to be assigned to a conference by the NCHSAA. If they qualify for the state playoffs, they participate like any other team in the membership. A proposed addition to the NCHSAA Bylaws would send charter schools to a state playoff of their own.
There are about 20 charter schools in the NCHSAA today, all of them are 1-A schools.
Principals at all member schools have until Tuesday, Apr. 24 at noon to vote on both changes. The results of the vote will be delivered to the NCHSAA Board of Directors at its annual meeting beginning on May 1, in Chapel Hill. In order to pass the amendment, there must be at least a three-fourths majority vote.
If either proposal is passed it would take place at the start of the 2013-2014 school year in conjunction with the next realignment.