A multiplier isn’t the only change KSHSAA should adopt

Bishop Miege poses with its 2016 Class 4A state football trophy. (Via @BishopMiegeHS/Twitter)
A proposed enrollment modifier would be aimed at affecting Bishop Miege’s football and basketball programs, specifically. (Via @BishopMiegeHS/Twitter)

If you spend enough time on social media during late November or early March you’ll see comments of how it’s not fair Bishop Miege is in Class 4A or that the private schools can “recruit.”

Sports Editor Mike Lavieri
Sports Editor Mike Lavieri

The Stags have won three straight championships in football and girls basketball, and won boys basketball last year. There have been rumors of adding a multiplier to create a competitive balance.

Later today, Paola athletic director Jeff Hines will, informally, present his findings of a survey he sent out to member schools regarding a multiplier.

But what is a multiplier? And how should it be used?

First, a multiplier is a number that would change the enrollment of the school to, hopefully, affect the classification. However, that number shouldn’t be applied to the school as a whole, but rather on programs individually based on success.

Missouri has one in place and multiplies enrollment by 1.35. Illinois uses the success factor and multiplies enrollments by 1.65. Illinois looks at success over a four-year period and if a team qualifies for state in that time, the multiplier is added. It also applies the multiplier if a team accumulates four points based on the highest title attained each season (two for a sectional title, one for regionals). IHSA looks at success year over year.

Kansas City Christian athletic director Jeff Poteet said via Twitter that a success rule is the only way it should be implemented. He noted his girls basketball team, which won three games all of last season doesn’t need to be in 3A. And I agree.

But before a modifier goes into affect, Kansas state legislature needs to pass a law that allows KSHSAA to add a multiplier. Currently, schools’ enrollment numbers cannot be manipulated and KSHSAA has to classify schools based on enrollment.

If the laws were changed and a multiplier was adopted Miege football coach Jon Holmes said he would welcome it.

“A lot of it with us is the league we play in and the schools we are competing with kids for — Aquinas, St. James, Rockhurst, ” Holmes said. “They’re all big-school kids. The league we play in and the way we’ve been, historically, at Miege, we would obviously welcome it. It is what it is if that’s how it goes. Right now we’re just playing where the state puts us.”

Miege is at the mercy of enrollment, in which tuition is nearly $10,000 a year. Like Holmes said they are competing with other area parochial schools. And with a hefty price tag associated with the education, some parents may choose to send their kids to public schools.

Miege is currently the fourth largest Class 4A school. Prior to be moved down in 2014, the Stags did win state titles in football and basketball in Class 5A.

But a modifier isn’t the only solution and it shouldn’t be. Looking at the top four classes: 6A, 5A, 4A-I and 4A-II, each of those classifications have 32 teams. Because of a split in Class 4A and 1A, Kansas has eight classifications.

Kansas has the same amount of classifications as Illinois and Texas, but has a smaller population. In Illinois, Class 8A, the largest, has 67 schools for football. In basketball, classes are combined and it goes down to four. Class 4A in Illinois plays and the 2015-16 season had 166 schools.

Kansas doesn’t need eight champions for every sport. We’ve already combined Class 4-1A in soccer and 5-1A in swimming, why can’t we do it for other sports?

By combining classes, in addition to adding a multiplier, we would have true champions with a fairer competitive balance.

KSHSAA isn’t perfect and there are other changes I’d like to see, which I will explain at a later date. But if the member schools aren’t happy with the current situation, they can always secede and form a new entity.