Open it up, Don. Staff to ground. Red Sea parted. Walk on through.
If the Mississippi High School Activities Association truly wants what is best for Mississippi high school athletes (and I mostly believe it does), then take your foot off the throat.
It will take all of 22 seconds for someone to email me a rebuttal with an argument against what I’m about to say. And some of those will be accurate. But nothing is perfect and nothing is done without work. So this, as crazy as it sounds and as much as some won’t agree, could – and should – happen.
Take down this faux wall of recruiting and let players play where they want. The current district lines are nothing but a hinder, anyway. Think about it like this. What if my son goes to Pine Grove because I live in the Pine Grove district. Pine Grove doesn’t have a football team. One summer, my kid grows to about 6-foot-8 with great hands and a huge build, I mean Rob Gronkowski build. The MHSAA says he can’t go to Corinth and play football.
Does that not harm my child just because of where I live? What if your daughter plays a mean trumpet and goes to a school without band? That can cost her – and your wallet – a scholarship, all because of where you live.
Not to get all rebel on you, but if you and me are willing to drive our children, or let our children drive to a school 25 miles from our front door, shouldn’t that be ok? Right now (and I know there are rules people think are good behind it), the MHSAA tells you what is best for your kid. If it requires tuition and the parents want to pay it, cool. If a booster wants to pay tuition for an asset to the baseball team, good.
There would have to be rules. Maybe you put a two-move limit on it. If I’m playing at Booneville and basketball coach Michael Smith really ticks off my 16-year-old ego and I want to move, I can, but can’t play until next year. If daddy is made about playing time and moves his daughter from Tremont to Smithville, can’t play until next year. Want to move before a school year? Go for it: eligible. But can only do that twice. And once you start a year, you’re there, happy with playing time or not. You can’t play football with Duke Upshaw at Baldwyn and baseball with Jacob Wilcher at Kossuth, at least not in the same year.
There would pop up negatives, but here is an overwhelming positive. It would bring to the top of the foam the coaches who care and the ones who couldn’t care less. It would expose the schools who take pride in its programs and embarrass the ones that don’t. Kids would flock to great coaches and facilities, i.e. the mass cry for Cliff Little to be the new girls coach at Biggersville. The coaches not getting flocked to, the reasons would be obvious. Want kids? Make sure they know (insert school) cares about their sports, does everything possible to invest in said sport and hires coaches worth their salt. If it costs some schools their programs, there would be a good reason.
National prep basketball is successful because players go where they have the best chance to succeed. It would work the same way for public and private school sports and education.
It would once and for all do away with the private school argument and be a level ground for all. Right now, some have to go by the rules and some don’t, public and private. According to the MHSAA, moves are NEVER granted for athletic purposes. But this Cathedral QB situation, family is quoted as saying his move was for football. The MHSAA struck out of the Jeremy Newsome situation a few years back and a more recent softball transfer from Eupora.
The MHSAA can’t handle the current setup. Heck, they can’t even keep fans out of media parking and pretend media out of a pressbox and out of the chicken nugget tray. And it’s okay. The setup is bad and the state needs to be opened anyway.
If not, I saw secede from the Union!