WVSSAC: One Bad Choice After Another

Lowell BrowningContributor IMarch 31, 2009

The West Virginia Secondary Schools Athletic Commission may be the most inefficient powers that be in the nation.

It seems, and it seems purposeful, that the WVSSAC has money on the top shelf of their agenda and doing the right thing for the children a distant third or fourth.

While West Virginia typically produces fewer D1 athletes from year-to-year, the SSAC answers the question as to why with, "Well, our kids are usually more suited for West Virginia Conference play."

The WVC is a D2 league!  That kind of attitude is terrible. In other words, our WV athletes should aim low and not stretch nor test themselves.

Tell me—someone, anyone? What kind of "thinkin'" is that from a board that is accountable for the WV high school athletes being the best that they can?

I venture to say one of the major reasons that WV kids are rarely of D1 talent is a stipulation that the high school coaches are allowed but three summertime weeks per year to work with their children during the offseason. This rule has been in place just a few years—and before the rule was implemented there was no contact allowed at all.

While the WV State Department of Education has a Board of Control (a board made up of every high school principal in the state) that has first access to requiring new rules' passage or failures, the WVSSAC is where their board of directors executive Gary Ray's office is located.

Recently a proposal came before the Board of Control,seeking to divide the schools in West Virginia to a four-division format.  The proposal aimed to create a more level playing field in the Mountain State.

Currently, there are classes A, AA, and AAA. The problem with this alignment is the difference in enrollment. 

Currently, the difference in class A is roughly 300 kids, from the smallest school to the largest. In class AA the smallest school in the class has about a 360-student enrollment disparity.

The problem is in class AAA. Bridgeport High School, with 627 students, is the smallest AAA school, while Parkersburg has 1,440 kids. These numbers only include grades 10 through 12, so the disparity is actually even larger!

There are 14 schools in WV's bigger class that have more than a 600-student enrollment difference advantage over 13 schools.

Kentucky while only having one class for basketball, does have a six-division set-up for all other varsity sports championships.

Ohio also has six districts and unlimited contact of coaches and players.

Virginia, another surrounding state, has over 300 schools—but they,unlike WV, do not allow the independent nor private schools participation.

Somebody grab me a calculator.

Why the powers that be in West Virginia can not do some basic math and allow a four class alignment and create better competition  and a level playing field is another example of this organization not doing the right thing.

As coaches, we often tell our kids to do the right thing and not the easy thing.

I guess that does not apply to those in leadership of the athletics in the Mountain State.

Maybe these West Virginia athletic organizations need to hear what is tagged on the Virginia High School League board:

'The leaders of today's Fortune 500 companies, 95 perecent of them in vice president or above positions, have one thing in common. They all participated in high school sports."