August 28, 2008 · Updated 1:18 PM
As a staff member at Archbishop Murphy High School, I feel compelled to respond to three claims in a recent sports opinion article (Football Karma? Nov. 28).
First, an anonymous source claims that Archbishop Murphy will likely not play closer attention to its recruiting practices. Second, the article claims private schools can waive tuition to athletes. Third, the article relies on whispers among community members who claim that private schools often provide special benefits to entice athletic superstars.
The first claim is unfortunate. It seems careless that an anonymous official was allowed to comment about Archbishop Murphys operation without the article mentioning any effort to contact school officials prior to publication.
The second claim is inaccurate. The statement that private schools can waive tuition to athletes is wrong. The WIAA Handbook strictly prohibits all schools from recruiting athletes (Rule 27.3). More specifically, no student athlete may receive special financial benefits that are not available to all students.
Perhaps this statement suggested that private schools like Archbishop Murphy still grant tuition waivers in violation of WIAA Rules. If so, I question the responsibility of allowing such a claim to be published without a shred of evidence beyond whispers. In any case, the lack of clarity and research regarding this sensitive issue was negligent.
The third claim is misinformed. Private schools must attract a broad range of students because they operate like businesses. Like any competitor, Archbishop Murphy survives by offering an attractive experience to all students. Tuition assistance is available to all families based exclusively on financial need (Rule 27.3.1). Archbishop Murphy has never provided transportation for any of its students (Rule 27.3.1(A)). The school sponsors open houses to all interested families who want to learn about its college-prep academic program (Rule 27.3.1(C)).
The article focused on the perceived disparity between public and private schools. Granted, there are rational arguments on both sides of that debate. But a choice was made to present an already emotional issue like private school recruiting in the context of Archbishop Murphy High Schools operations and recent sufferings. Accordingly, it would have been more responsible to publish the article after providing more sufficient clarity, evidence of research and information from appropriate school officials.