The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

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Small Town vs. 30-Mile Radius

The controversy of what is fair when public and private schools face each other on the football field. Money, recruiting and coaching can all stack the odds in favor of private schools within the IHSA.

Going undefeated into the second round of the playoffs on Saturday, Nov. 4, against Carmel Catholic (9-2), spirits were high that the Antioch Sequoits (10-1) would come out on top. Resulting in a 50-7 win for Corsairs, private schools versus public schools in athletics has prominently begun to stand out. As many begin recognizing the unfair advantages private schools have against public schools.

Head football coach Brian Glashagel noticed a recurring pattern that seemed to appear in sports: private schools win a majority of the time they are up against public schools. It begins to become an extreme issue during playoffs for sports like football, volleyball, basketball and lacrosse. 

In ISHA, there are 520 public schools and 49 public schools. The odds would appear to be in favor of public schools, considering the drastic difference between the number of public schools and private schools. However, during playoffs from 2001 to 2023, private schools won 69% of the games they played overall. From the 22 years of data Glashagel pulled together, private schools have come out on top with an overall record of 910-407. Meaning out of 1317 games, public schools have only won 407 games.

         

Glashagel coached at Carmel for 10 years and has been coaching at public schools for 17 years. He recognizes the importance of recruiting young athletes within a 30-mile radius to play for them. 

“I was in the private schools for a decade before I started my career,¨ Glashagel said. ¨Like we knew that when I was in it like there’s an advantage of building a team that way.” 

As Glashagel has experienced firsthand, recruiting athletes is the most unfair advantage private schools have over public schools. Many coaches that have been coaching for years realize these issues. Defensive coordinator Pat Swanson has been coaching for 17 years. He is also against the concept of private schools competing in public school’s playoffs because of the unfair advantages in recruiting.

“So, you get these teams that can get anyone they want on their roster, and then have to play schools that are only limited to their boundary,” Swanson said.

Looking into the 2023 season, the final four in 5A were all private schools: St. Francis, Nazareth Academy, Joliet Catholic Academy and Providence Catholic. It became alarming to see these private schools dominate the 5A football bracket, especially as someone who previously didn’t know past data. Looking at the data, it is extremely apparent that private schools have dominated their divisions for years now. 

As of Dec. 19, 2023, during the all-schools ballot, IHSA members voted against the proposal to move to district format based on geography and classification. The proposal had a voting count of 272-379-76. The proposal meant there would be eight districts which contained eight schools in each. District games would be played in the weeks 3-9 of the regular season. The top four schools of each district would then qualify for playoffs. Similar proposals have been voted down in recent years.

The 2024 football season will look similar in the sense that seeding procedures will remain similar to current procedures. Meaning teams from the same district are not to play in the first round. 12 of 14 amendment proposals have been approved to continue to improve the IHSA program.

Issues that are present in football are being addressed by the upbringing of proposals that are brought forth each year from IHSA. Recognizing the issues in football are based on geography, school size, conference affiliation, and the success of a program are complications. The reason why recent proposals have not gained enough support to pass is that there is no simple solution to diminish these complications.

IHSA will continue to work towards a solution that would be beneficial to both private schools and public schools. Because this issue goes beyond football, coaches and athletes who are affected by this situation have high hopes for the resolution of these drawbacks.

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About the Contributor
Ali Davis, Tom Tom Staff
Ali Davis is a senior and this is her third year on staff. She plays tennis and soccer. She enjoys spending time with friends and watching sunsets.
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