Spartanburg County School Districts have proposed to the South Carolina High School League a constitutional amendment that would force 15 schools around the state to participate in a separate championship playoff series because the schools have a countywide enrollment area and can limit enrollment.
Fox Creek High School is one of the schools that could be affected by the proposition, and the only one from the Aiken area. Predators head football coach and athletic director Russ Schneider hadn’t heard of the proposal before Tuesday, but said he didn’t think Fox Creek should be included with many of the others listed because Fox Creek is a public school.
“I need to learn more about it, but I hope it doesn’t include us because I wouldn’t want to be grouped in with private schools. We can’t join SCISA because we’re a public school,” Schneider said of the South Carolina Independent School Association. “We are a public school, so we’re stuck in the middle.”
The other schools around the state that would be affected include Bishop England, Christ Church, Academic Magnet, Charleston Charter, Garrett Tech, Military Magnet, Greenville Tech, Brashier Middle College, Greer Middle College, St. Joseph’s, Southside Christian, Governor’s School, Calhoun Falls Charter and SC School for the Deaf and Blind. They would be allowed to compete in the High School League during the regular season and continue to play in its current region. The big change would come playoff time.
The High School League’s Executive Committee studied the proposal Monday and is expected to release all proposals in the next couple of days. The proposed amendment to the High School League’s constitution will be voted on during the South Carolina Athletic Administrators Association’s spring meetings March 6-10 in Charleston.
“It would be tough on us because we don’t have a feeder school,” Schneider said of the difference between Fox Creek and other public schools, while drawing a clear line of delineation with private schools. “If a kid transfers to us, they would have to sit out a year. They don’t have to do that in a private school. And to be a student at Fox Creek, you have to live in Edgefield to play for us.”
Fox Creek could be a victim of the proposal which seems targeted directly at Bishop England and Christ Church. Both have highly successful athletic programs.
“Without a doubt,” Bishop England athletic director Paul Runey told the Charleston Post and Courier. “It’s because of the success Bishop England and Christ Church have had over the years.”
Bishop England and Christ Church have the best Class AA and Class A sports programs in the state on an annual basis. The Athletic Directors Cup, founded in 2001 to honor the top programs in the state’s four classifications, has gone to Bishop England (Class AA) and Christ Church (Class A) every year.
Academic Magnet athletic director Kurt Hoffman concurred with Runey.
“It seems to be about success,” he said. “You have Christ Church at one end of the state and Bishop England at the other. The argument put forth is that these schools can recruit anywhere, and, No. 2, can offer a tuition discount. It’s on the table, but I don’t see the proposal gaining any traction.”
The Spartanburg schools that made the proposal include Boiling Springs, Broome, Byrnes, Chapman, Chesnee. Dorman, Landrum, Spartanburg and Woodruff.
Charleston Post and Courier staff writer Philip Bowman contributed to this report.