With the recent domination of 1AD2 boys’ basketball by private schools in large cities, does anyone have any thoughts on possible remedies to level the playing field for honest to goodness rural small school Idaho? I know that there are at least 10 other states that either have private schools play in their own classification or play up a division or two based on a modifier. An example if this would be that in Missouri a 1.35 multiplier is applied to private schools in all sports. Looking at the three private schools in this year’s 1AD2 tourney that modifier would bump Lighthouse and Logos up to 1AD1 and leave Genesis Prep in 1AD2.
Having lived in several rural school districts in Idaho and raised my kids there, I know what the investment and ownership is that small communities have in their kids. To watch a class grow through elementary and junior high and then cheer them on to success in high school is how small community Idaho does business. The entire community is invested in the process.
It is much different for “small” private schools in urban settings. Consider the private schools again in this year’s small school tourney. Genesis Prep is in Post Falls and is ten miles away from Coeur d'Alene. Post Falls High School has a population of 1,464 and Coeur d'Alene 1,392. Throw in Lake City with its student population of 1,636. That is a total of 4,492 students for this “little” school to draw from. This does not take into consideration international students either.
Another “small” school in Twin Falls has had student athletes from at least seven large high schools in the Magic Valley. Those seven school have a total student population of 5,823. (This year that includes Minico) For anyone checking the math here it is: Canyon Ridge 1,235, Twin Falls 1,176, Filer 467, Jerome 1,023, Buhl 371, and Kimberly 541.
The third “small” school is Logos in Moscow. Moscow High has a student population of 783. Because Lewiston is down the hill 37 minutes away and a crazy commute in the winter, I will leave their 1,400 students out of it. However Pullman Washington is just over the border. Not sure what the high school situation in Pullman is, but the city does have a population of 33,354 just minutes away from Moscow. At any rate, even if Logos just pulls student athletes from Moscow, that is a substantial gain over true 1AD2 rural schools.
The genuine small schools competing against these private schools this year are Mackay, Rockland, Salmon River, Carey, and Garden Valley. Mackay has 47 students in high school. Rockland has 62, Salmon River 46, Carey 78, and Garden Valley 74. If you are fan of fairness and equity you cannot but help to cheer for these genuine small schools. It is Hoosiers all over again. Only this time the setting is inside of the smallest division of high schools in Idaho.
In recent years it seems the smallest classification has been handed over to virtual AAU programs from urban Idaho. Pretty tough to watch a class grow through the system and then have that chance of a lifetime to participate in a state tournament snatched away by an urban private school with no boundaries and athletes from multiple large districts. There are several communities in that boat this year. Lakeside and other real small schools from the North Star Conference will never have the opportunity to play in a state basketball tourney with Genesis Prep in the house. This would have been Lakeside’s year to make some noise. Maybe they can get it done next year if GP's feeder system has slowed down. After getting thumped by Logos in the White Pine championship game Deary lost the chance to play at state this year. In the Magic Valley, Camas had the best team they have had in decades, and they are sitting at home. Murtaugh is not far behind them as Lighthouse, which has a Magic Valley all-star roster this year, takes that spot away from either of those programs.
Any ideas on how to level the playing field and give the 1AD2 state tournament back to 1AD2 schools?