A lawmaker from north Alabama has filed a bill with the Alabama State Legislature that will attempt to split public and private schools when competing for state championships.
The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) is currently split into seven divisions from 1A to 7A based on the size of the school. The current divisions and regions have both private schools and public schools compete against each other in all sports.
The bill, which was filed by Rep. Ritchie Whorton (R-District 22), says the following:
This bill would require the Alabama High School Athletic Association to adopt a rule to allow its public school members to compete only against each other for state championships, and its nonpublic school members to compete only against each other for state championships.”
Whorton’s bill comes after a few years of sustained success from programs like McGill-Toolen Catholic School, St. Paul’s School, UMS-Wright, Bayside Academy, and many others in popular sports like football and volleyball.
The bill fails to mention any details behind the transition and how the new divisions would be split. However, the bill does state it would take effect during the 2019-2020 school year.
AHSAA does currently have restrictions against private schools including multiplying the student population by 1.35 to determine which division the school is placed.
Despite the penalties, there have been calls from parents and some coaches about the advantage of a private school when considering facilities, funding for the programs and the ability to get new students.
The bill would still allow private and public schools to compete against each other during the regular season, just not in the postseason.
This is not the first time that Rep. Whorton has filed this type of bill. Last year, Whorton filed a similar that was co-sponsored by five other lawmakers. However, this year he is the only sponsor of the bill.
For the bill to become law, it would need to be approved by both the House and the Senate along with a signature from the Governor.
News Five will continue to follow this story and get a reaction from our local coaches and lawmakers.