HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

With Dave Makela

 

For Release: December 2nd, 1999

 

As the Fall Sport season officially draws to a close, one has to wonder if S.D.S.S.A.A. schools could ever post a better performance than that of this year.

For example, five out of six O.F.S.A.A. reps in Senior Volleyball and Basketball hailed from the Sudbury region this Fall. Combine this with a best-ever performance in N.O.S.S.A. cross country running and N.O.S.S.A. championships in basketball including Girls' "AA" and "AAA" Junior and in volleyball including Boys' "A" Junior, and you've painted quite a picture of success indeed.

And the story will continue this weekend as the Northeastern Senior Girls and Lasalle Senior Girls will advance to their respective O.F.S.A.A. Basketball Championships in Stratford and Ottawa. Newlywed coaches Bruce and Jen Bourget will lead their charges into battle starting Thursday - watch The Star for results updates.

Congratulations are extended to all Fall Sport coaches and student-athletes - you've done us all extremely proud!

In other high school sports news, there was some interesting news coming from the Ontario Federation of Secondary Athletic Associations (O.F.S.A.A.) meetings hosted on November 18th. Local O.F.S.A.A. Representative and S.D.S.S.A.A. Co-Chair Bob Deeth (Sudbury Secondary) reports that the delegates in attendance have approved, in principal, a four level classification system for provincial high school championships.

At present there are three levels; "A", "AA" and "AAA". The new system would introduce a fourth level "AAAA", presumably for larger schools predominantly from the Golden Horseshoe area, schools that in some cases have enrollment as high as 2,500. Also factored in the mix would be the elimination of the "high density - low density" system, whereby access to services, student transportation, area population and other factors are considered along with school enrollment to arrive at a classification for interschool competition.

There is absolutely no doubt that the old system needed some "tweeking". Coach Bruce Bourget reports that Northeastern, whose enrollment factors in at around 510, will compete on the weekend against schools with enrollments as high as 2,000! Now does that seem fair to you?

Apparently, one of the key determinants of the new system would be that the local association, the S.D.S.S.A.A. to use a local example, would have the right to recommend the appropriate classification for each of its member schools, recommendations that under normal circumstances would receive the support of the O.F.S.A.A.

And aye, there's the rub. Our local executive traversed down the classification road earlier this season in response to a motion that was passed at the local level last June. Predictably, decisions rendered from this process were controversial, in that classifications often determine how competitive school teams will be with schools from other districts.

My problem with the new proposal is this: if local Associations have the final say, inconsistency is likely to arise in the decision making process from one geographic area to the next. As it is, the three level system is complicated by the often nebulous "high density - low density" argument and it would remain to be seen how clear the direction for local associations will be under the new four level system.

Even city schools may have a large proportion of their students bussed in, particularly for those with so-called "magnet" programs, and often other density-related factors are not definitive enough to influence classification. In my opinion then (for what it's worth), a system of classification should be wholly based on the official Ministry-recorded enrollment as of October 31st, as this is really the only objective factor in the process.

Even basing the system solely on enrollment, wherever the line is drawn between "A", "AA", "AAA" and now perhaps "AAAA", will indeed make a world of difference to those schools affected. Needless to say, local officials will be pulling out their magnifying glasses to review any new classification system rules as soon as they are released.

Moving to volleyball, anyone who knows the number of games contested during the season and how difficult it is to cover them all with qualified officials will appreciate this note from Laura Aubertin - our Volleyball Chief Official (actually much more than a chief official, Ms. Aubertin has become a sort of a beacon in volleyball circles, the light on the other side of the net, in efforts to promote the sport and encourage people to get involved in officiating and competitive circles).

To this end, a series of volleyball officials' clinics are being hosted at Confederation Secondary in Val Caron. For budding officials, this is an opportunity to learn the basics and could be the start on a path towards being an active and successful volleyball official.

The cost to attend the clinic is $16., and for successful candidates an additional fee of $59. applies, which includes registration to the Ontario Volleyball Association. Candidates must be 16 years of age or older, and current students of the Rainbow District Board automatically apply for a partial or full reimbursement of registration fees paid.

Interested parties may contact Laura at 969-4596 to pre-register.

 


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