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Private schools and Class D

Class D means charming teams from the farmland. Tiny-sized schools that when they get this far, there's hardly anyone left in town because they're all at the game. We're talking "Hoosiers."

Well, not in Section V.

This will be three straight years that the Section V representative in the smallest classification is a private school from the Rochester suburbs. C.G. Finney, from Penfield, not only won Section V but won also won the state championship the last two years. This year's team is Northstar Christian, which is located on the other side of Rochester in Gates.

C.G. Finney had great players and coaches and fans, and they played some excellent hoops. I'm sure I'll be saying the same about Northstar Christian, and that it is a great program with great people.

But the reason Section VI doesn't allow private schools in it is because private schools are thought to have an advantage over public schools because they can draw on a much larger area. Yes, it's an advantage, a fundamental difference that makes the schools apples and oranges, and its much more pronounced in Class D. The city of Rochester, or even one of its suburbs, is obviously a much larger area to draw students from than say, Pine Valley's hometown of South Dayton (pop. 600).

But this is what happens when different sections in the state not only have different rules about who is allowed in (Section VI and both of Long Island's sections rightly keep their apples and oranges separate), but -- more to the point in this case -- the sections that do allow private schools in have different policies for moving them up in classification. Section III historically has moved up Syracuse-area private schools  -- like 2002 Class D state champ Faith Heritage (which is located in downtown Syracuse) -- for competitive purposes, but Section V doesn't touch them.

Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's just a pet peeve. Maybe I have a misguided notion that Class D should be the Battle of the Boonies. I wrote similar things when Batavia Notre Dame was the Section V representative in 2001 (they went on to win the state championship, too).

All I'm saying is that there are drastic differences between a private school based in -- and able to draw from -- a largely populated area and the very smallest schools in the state's smallest communities.

Private schools have won four of the last seven state "public school" championships in Class D. Doesn't that say something? The smallest classification in which private schools can get to the Federation tournament is in Class B. So why should they be in the public school tournament in Class D?

If I ran the world instead of just this blog, I'd bump up all private schools out of Class D to make it a true state tournament for the little guys.

---Keith McShea

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About Prep Talk

Keith McShea

Keith McShea

Keith McShea has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) covers — and live blogs — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.

@KeithMcSheaBN | [email protected]

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