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Post Season and the Private Schools

Listen To The Podcast!     Coach L. Albaugh      DBLITY

In our last podcast I discussed the excitement of the post season – the playoffs. Had a couple of questions as to how we in Illinois handle the public vs private school conversation. Hey, we all have that discussion and I have found in all my years, all my travels, that public school coaches feel that private or non-boundaried schools have an unfair advantage. In fact, some states have completely separated public schools and privates. They don’t play each other at all. Well…I’ve been in both but mostly in public schools. I taught and coached in a “non-boundary” school for 6 years at a laboratory high school. It was part of the university and it was used as a school for teacher education activities. Very preppy, college type atmosphere. It’s a really good school and I enjoyed my time there. We had about 600 students and you had to apply to go there. No tuition – but you had to have a good academic record. And yeah…if you were a really good athlete that didn’t hurt you. So did we have an advantantage. Yeah! We had no boundaries – kids could come from anywhere. But we didn’t dominate in any sports – we were competitive. But I’ve found that public school coaches only start to get angry and frustrated with private schools is when they start dominating year after year, ESPECIALLY FOOTBALL. Anyway, here’s how we do it in Illinois. In fact, I’ll give the evolution, so to speak.


Our football playoffs didn’t begin until 1974. Of course, there was state competition in every other sport. But when we started our playoffs everyone was on an even basis. Your enrollment was your enrollment public or private. All boys schools had to double their enrollment. That was assumed by all. We finally had playoffs and it was exciting. But after a few years it was quite apparent that some of the private schools were really dominating the championships and there were grumblings from the public school coaches. As the years went by it became more apparent that private schools, although only about 20% of the football playing schools were private, they were winning the majority of the state championships. One problem in particular was schools “dropping” down a couple of enrollment classes when the playoffs came. For example, a private school of let’s say 500 students but played a schedule of schools much larger. That was their conference, they were used to playing those guys. Maybe all of the public schools in their conference were schools of between 1,000 – 1,500 students. But the private school, a traditional power goes 9-0 or 8-1 every year playing those big schools. That’s what was happening in Illinois. A team that played a say, 5A schedule all year would then qualify based on enrollment, would play in the 2A or 3A playoffs and pound everyone on their way to a championship. Well, after a awhile the public school coaches started to feel it was unfair. OK, time for change……So, the change was made. Trouble was we found out that public schools who were the smallest in their conference, somebody has to be, were getting killed by this rule. Maybe their enrollment is 600 and most schools in the league are between 800-1200. But they had that special year and go 8-1 or 9-0. Instead of going 4A playing schools their size in the playoffs they play in 6A for the playoffs. Big difference. Yeah, maybe they can beat some of the teams in 6A but not the really good ones. So, time for another change which is where we are now. The multiplier. 1.65 for non boundary schools – the private schools. In Illinois, mostly catholic schools. We have a league here called the Chicago Catholic league. Really good. So a private school with an enrollment of 1000 would have an enrollment of 1650 for the playoffs. Instead of playing in 5A they would be 6A or 7A for the playoffs. It HAS evened the playing field. The traditional powers still are hard to beat, but it’s more even than it used to be. Everyone is happy enough that we’ve had this system for several years now.

Hey join us next week…

The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war. G. Patton

Sweet 16 Countdown: 51. Alaska -9.2   50. Vermont -1.7   49. North Dakota 3.3   48. Wyoming 5.2  47. Rhode Island 8.4   46. District of Columbia 8.4   45. Delaware 14.7   44. South Dakota 15.3   43. New Hampshire 16.7   42. Montana 19.2  41. Maine 19.5   40. New Mexico 20.5  39. Oregon 24.2  38. West Virginia 26.3  37. Nevada 31.2  36. Idaho 32.2  35. Nebraska 32.6  34. New York 33.0  33. Iowa 34.4  32. Minnesota 35.9   31. Kentucky 36.3   30. Hawaii 36.5  29. Connecticut 37.3  28. Massachusetts 38.3 27. Wisconsin 39.9  26. Virginia 40.8  25. Oklahoma 41.5  24. Michigan 41.53 23. Kansas 41.8 22. Tennessee 41.9  21. Washington 42.6 20. Indiana 43.9 19. Colorado 44.4  18. South Carolina 44.61  17. New Jersey 44.63  16. Arkansa 45.0 15. Arizona 45.2 14. Mississippi 45.6 13. Alabama 45.8  12. Utah 46.0  11. North Carolina 46.7  10. Missouri 49.0  9. Pennsylvania 49.9  8. Illinois 50.3  7. Louisiana 51.9  6. Maryland 52.8  5. Georgia 57.2  4. Texas 60.8 3. Ohio 61.0  2. Florida 62.5  1. California 69.4

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Coach Albaugh coached high school football in Illinois for 28 years. During that time he coached at every level and on both sides of the ball. He was the offensive and defensive line coach for four undefeated teams and was a defensive coordinator in his last 11 years, twice reaching the semi finals of the Illinois state playoffs.