My wife, children, and I graduated from Alabama public schools and participated in athletics throughout. I worked 25 years in public education as a teacher, coach, administrator, and superintendent.
As we competed against private schools, I remember thinking, “They can recruit. They have private school privilege.”
When I retired, the unimaginable happened … I was employed by a private school. I’ve spent 11 wonderful years at Mars Hill Bible School and learned it is much bigger than athletics.
I routinely hear people verbalizing the things I used to think. I’d like to share a few facts about private school athletics:
1) Private schools comply with all AHSAA guidelines regarding student athletes (school zones, out of district, bona fide moves, etc.). The AHSAA monitors continued compliance closely.
2) If a student athlete transfers to a private school after seventh grade, his/her family (not the school) must pay full tuition. This is true even if the family qualifies for a discount for which any other student would be eligible.
3) Over 85% of our student athletes attend MHBS from elementary (many from preschool).
4) Classifications are based on 10th- through 12th-grade students. Private schools are “weighted” so that each student counts as 1.35.
When I hear negative comments about private school athletics, I remind myself that I’ve “been there and thought that.” We can all agree that regardless of school colors or a team’s mascot, all our young people are God’s most precious gifts to us.