Wednesday, June 8, 2011

State Championships in Colorado

What a year for Regis Jesuit High School athletics in Colorado. They won state championships in boys tennis, golf, basketball, swimming, lacrosse, baseball, and a second-place finish in football. Of course, there's no reason to suspect athletic recruiting at this school of 900 students - except they actually admitted illegal recruiting practices to CHSAA last fall. Though Regis has dominated boys swimming for years, they’ve made a dramatic leap to domination in all sports in a very short time. And, it’s not a question of if they are recruiting – it’s a matter of how extensive the violations have been. The coincidence between the recent string of victories and the illegal recruiting admission last fall should not be ignored.

Unfortunately CHSAA has taken no serious action toward private school recruiting, and public schools are understandably troubled by this trend. Last fall, the Florida High School Athletic Association fined Mandarin Christian High School $142,000 - a penalty so harsh it may destroy the school's entire sports program. While it may seem extreme, Florida should be applauded for taking the issue seriously. It’s worth asking how a similar hard-line might change high school playoffs in Colorado.

At one time, Jesuit schools had a reputation for a rigid code of ethics and a devout focus on education. Hopefully, that hasn't changed in Colorado, though recent results certainly cast suspicion. The problem with recruiting is it's difficult to prove - thus, when it's discovered, regulators need to make it hurt. By not doing so, CHSAA is condoning behavior detrimental to high school sports.


Anonymous said...

Why does it bother you that they recruit? Does it just make lousy games for other schools when they play Regis?

mmazenko said...


The only problem is that it's against CHSAA rules, and if private schools are going to compete in CHSAA events, they should be subject to the same rules. Schools are prohibited from "recruiting" students based only on athletics.

Of course, as I said in my next post, it may be worth considering a change in the rules. As long as all schools are allowed the same freedoms, it might not be a problem.