WIAA to consider "Three-Fifths" rule

Badgers Bronson Koenig
via The Provincial Emails
Michael Flaherty comments at WPRI.

"When the governing body of high school sports meets in Stevens Point on April 16, its members will vote on an odd, special rule to require the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association to treat private school sports teams as though their schools were much larger.
"Proponents argue that private schools have unique access to athletes through their prestige and tuition assistance. To level the playing field, so to speak, a number of small schools propose requiring private schools to count each student as 1.65 students for the purposes of placing them in competitive divisions."
more at La Crosse Tribune



  1. This is a tremendous challenge to try and play out in such a place as Wisconsin. I grew up in Florida, where this really was not an issue as an overwhelming majority of the private schools were in the smallest divisions where there was actually very little participation from public schools at all as they were all bigger. This was such an issue they actually had to create a smaller division "B" to accommodate the very tiny schools.

    However, my family is all from Ohio where many of the prominent Catholic schools are actually quite large because of poor public schools, especially in the urban areas, and you see these schools, which do pretty much explicitly recruit for sports, dominating the larger divisions, while smaller, rural public schools rarely see the competition from private schools simply because the socioeconomic make up doesn't lend to many private schools.

    Wisconsin on the other hand seems to be a different animal. Much of our state is rural, with a lot of small schools. However, the long tradition of Catholicism and Lutheranism also contributes to a lot of small private schools, even in these small-town areas. Throw in the reality of school choice (which I love!) and then you start to see some of the same challenges that I mentioned in Ohio (see St. Anthony's Milwaukee for Soccer or Racine St. Catherine's for basketball), and seem to be of concern by those mentioned in the article.

    It will be interesting to see what happens.

    1. Interesting stuff. I actually don't have a strong opinion one way or the other. There is definitely strong anti-private school sentiments among many public school programs, but even if the successful programs were public schools that same sentiment would probably exist. I have an uncle that coaches at a very small WELS school in the state, and this is going to be a huge negative for any other private school beyond the power programs.

  2. Wow. That would be really tough on our kids' Catholic high school. We're small and don't have money for tuition assistance and do no recruiting. Putting us up in a tougher bracket would mean we'd lose even more often then we already do. But we're in Missouri. Hopefully MSHSAA won't like what you're doing up north!

  3. I recall during my time at Pacelli in Stevens Point hearing that the football and baseball state champ teams were recruited. The boys on those teams had been playing together since Kindergarten minus one who was new to the area. Unless athletic recruiting started in preschool the smaller Catholic high schools of the state are not guilty.

    1. Agreed, apart from a few exceptions I haven't seen a whole lot of "recruiting" going on. Maybe in Milwaukee or Madison that is more true.

  4. I taught in a Catholic school for 6 years in the Milwaukee Archdiocese (not in the city though), and I can assure you, that no recruiting was done at that smaller school (D3-4), and unfortunately many of our sports teams' records reflected it!


Please contact matt@badgercatholic.com if you have issues commenting.