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Hoosiers getting Hysterical over charter school hoops teams

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Bob Cook, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    Good story here:

    Apparently what no one in the Indiana General Assembly or the Indiana State High School Athletic Association thought of when charter schools were authorized is that, because they can draw from anywhere in the district, they can draw the top talent citywide. The story focuses on Bowman Academy in Gary, which now has the city's best players, although Herron in Indianapolis, purportedly an art school, hired ex-Indiana deposed Mr. Basketball Sherron Wilkerson and has a Butler recruit transferring in. The story notes that the Indianapolis mayor turned down a proposal for a sports-themed charter school.

    I'm curious -- is this happening in your area with charter schools, whether with basketball or any other sports?
  2. OnTheRiver

    OnTheRiver Active Member


    I can tell you that Signature here in Evansville has cross country and a club hockey team. Other than that, nada.
  3. My best friend is the head coach at a school in Bowman's sectional, and just got murdered by a local columnist when he said something along the lines that the IHSAA is going to eventually have to take a look at how to handle the charter school issue. He was put in kind of a bad spot because he kept being asked what he thought of having Bowman in the sectional, and refused to paint them as the heavy, unbeatable favorite because he didn't want his kids to buy into that. But then it turned into that he was "disrespecting Bowman."

    I will say this, having seen them play three or four times last season: That is no Class A basketball team.
  4. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    On a historical note, the Oscar Robertson Crispus Attucks champions in the 1950s were representing a "charter" school, in that the Indianapolis Public Schools still had a segregation policy in place. Once Attucks started dominating, people at other schools started getting upset that the top players in their borders were heading to Attucks. Sort of a Sam "Bam" Cunnigham desegregating Alabama football kind of deal.

    Attucks was shut down as a high school for a while, operated as a junior high, and is now back open as a high school -- Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School.
  5. The Bowman thing definitely has some racial undertones, as well. It's an all-white, rural sectional they play in. You've at least got to speak very gingerly about it if you're an opposing coach, as my friend found out (he is in no way, shape or form a racist and spent his formative coaching years at a South Bend city school).

    In fairness to those schools, however, the Gary city schools won't play them, either (fox-in-the-henhouse deal).
  6. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    Waaaaaaah! These little schools wanted class basketball, now they have it on a silver platter. All of it, right down to the fact that the competitive balance they sought is being usurped at their own level by the winds of change. Cry me a river.

    First they complained about the private schools that had no district boundaries, now it's the charter schools.

    I can see the arguments to come. Maybe they should have a public school only tourney! Yeah! Oh wait, that would include the charter schools. OK, how 'bout a Catholic tourney, a charter school tourney, and a "real" public school tourney! Buh, buh, but, some small schools have better tax bases than others ... enrollment grows here its shrinking there ... maybe we'll just have a Sullivan-Knox County State Tournament. Parade down Dugger's main street in March! State champs!

    Of course, public schools recruit and have mysterious move-ins too, but shh! That would be hating on small-town Class A sectional championships that are the lifeblood of this 50s fantasy of what Indiana basketball is allegedly all about!

    Class basketball ... be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.
  7. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    Bubs, I do love the small schools, the ones that pushed for class basketball so they could win titles, getting shut out again. Karma, baby, karma. And, Waylon, the Star story quotes a former Gary West coach, now at Michigan City, talking about how he wouldn't play Bowman or any other charter school.

    For you SportsJournalists.commers in other states, what's been your experience with charter schools? Is there the uproar that appears to be under way in Indiana?
  8. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Charter schools are relatively new here and, as of yet, do not offer any athletics.
  9. Yeah, that's what made me think of it. That's on the superintendent, right? You can't have schools within the same school system sniping each other's players and refusing to play each other. I mean, I get it in a big city like Chicago or New York. But Gary has four schools now that Mann and Wirt are gone.
  10. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    I didn't know Wirt closed. Via con dios Troopers.
  11. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    In Michigan, charter schools have been operating for 15 years or so, and there have been a few attempts to launch thinly-disguised NBADL franchises under the charter banner.

    There was one particularly ridiculous one about 10 years ago where a school was formed with the pretty much explicit aim of competing with Oak Hill Academy: hooking up a NIKE sponsorship deal, loading up the bench with AAU coaches, recruiting the best players over half the state, dropping out of the state HS association in order to get away from all their rules and playing a nationwide schedule of top prep schools.

    A few of the superstar transferees hated it, transferred back to their original schools, they started getting just absolutely annihilated off the court, NIKE dumped their sponsorship deal, and surprise surprise surprise, a state investigation revealed "extensive academic irregularities." The school was shut down in 2003.

    So I would say their fears could be well founded.

    Here are a couple links about it:


  12. crimsonace

    crimsonace Active Member

    Interestingly, the Star story left out Muncie Burris, which is a charter-type school (Ball State's lab school), with public funding and unlimited boundaries. They've never lost a match in the 2A volleyball tournament, and are so dominant that other top 2A schools have begun playing in the 3A volleyball tournament (under IHSAA rules, a school can elect to play up) to avoid them.

    Every stud volleyball player in the area tries to get into Burris. And not surprisingly, the "lottery" seems to favor them, as Burris' enrollment is about 2/3 female.

    With regards to Bowman, there was definitely an attempt to put together a powerhouse basketball team (they are capping HS enrollment *just* below the cutoff to stay in 1A), but the same people criticizing them are also rather ardent critics of Catholic and Christian schools that have put together athletic powerhouses. For some, it may be a black/white issue, but for most, the fact that some schools aren't playing with the same rulebook as others is galling.

    That said, class basketball. You get what you wish for. Can't beat Ben Davis or Lawrence North? You just get to play an AAU team posing as a high school instead.
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