The ongoing debate of private versus public schools under the OSSAA umbrella make take another turn soon, particularly in the sports of tennis and volleyball. A committee meeting held yesterday has proposed new rules which would impact successful private school teams in these two sports, citing that continued success in lower classifications has thrown off competitive balance. The rule change is being proposed by a committee chaired by Adair athletic director Brad Rogers and has many levels to understand fully.
To begin, the discussion must start with OSSAA’s Rule 14 implemented in 2011, which states that a private school that has shown sustained success in their natural Class must move up a classification for competitive balance. This has been seen locally with Oklahoma Bible Academy’s volleyball program, which has made multiple jumps between Classes 3A & 4A in recent years. The committee in favor of implementing changes stated yesterday that they would like to see a ban prohibiting smaller private schools to be moved into Class 6A removed, while also changing the definition of “sustained success” within a sport. The change would alter the definition from finishing in the final eight in 2 out of 3 consecutive seasons to finishing in the final four overall for a specific sport.
Although no official ruling will be handed down for this upcoming school year, the discussion does bleed over to other sports outside of volleyball and tennis despite less disparity. Although football has been more balanced between the public and private schools in the state, last season saw one or more private schools reach the semifinals or better in the postseason in six of the seven lower classifications (5A-C). Basketball has also seen its influx of private schools seeing much success in recent seasons, with multiple schools perennially reaching state tournament finals or outright winning state titles within their classifications. Despite football and basketball remaining unchanged for the foreseeable future, an additional set of meetings for the proposed changes in tennis and volleyball are expected to take place sometime in October. More updates on this story will be given as information becomes available.