High school basketball season for schools playing in a public league end this week with the state tournament in Birmingham. There are seven size classifications ranging from schools with less than 100 students to Hoover high with 2,177.
The smallest division goes to 159 students, 2A up to 223 and 3A up to 297. The final four teams in each of the seven divisions are now set.
Of the 12 final four teams in the three smallest divisions, five of them are private schools. (There are no private schools playing for a state title in 4A, 5A, 6A and 7A.)
It is an open secret that some private schools use AAA scholarships to improve their athletic programs. A closer look at the five private in the high school playoffs give credence to this assumption. Since scholarship athletes are not immediately eligible, we looked at numbers from the fall of 2017.
In all, these five schools had 110 scholarships. Here is how they break down: Decatur Heritage–2; St. Luke’s Episcopal–40; Westminister Christian–none; Sacred Heart of Anniston–60; and Prattville Christian–8.
Here’s the irony. As you know, all scholarships are paid for by money diverted from the Education Trust Fund used for public schools. Could it be that some private schools are using publicly-funded scholarships to compete with public schools in basketball?