Sunday, April 26, 2009

High school sports and the level playing field.

A new paper, forthcoming in the Texas Review of Entertainment and Sports Law, features the following abstract:
In states like Illinois, controversial enrollment multipliers have been implemented. Under Illinois' formula, a "non-boundaried" school will have its actual enrollment multiplied by 1.65 for determining the classification in the State's high school playoff system. This formula is not unique to Illinois; states nationwide have begun to evaluate ways at curbing the disproportionate amount of championships won by private schools. In some of these states, a multiplier system has been implemented while others have used separate playoff systems or drafted proposals limiting the boundaries from which private schools can draw their students.
This raises two interesting questions. First, why should the institutions of competition compensate for the size (or lack of a) school catchment area but not for, say, differences in quality of coach, quality of athletes living near the school, or effectiveness of the cheerleaders? Second, could this be challenged given that religion is a protected class and these multipliers have a disparate impact on Catholic and other religious schools?

Removing the competitive advantage associated with lack of a catchment area should increase coaching salaries by focusing competition on coaching quality. Anyone want to bet that coaches help set these rules?

Hat tip: Charlie Brown