Arkansas’ new Competitive Equity Factor will level the playing field between public and private school programs – high school sports news, scores, videos, rankings
By Leland Barclay
The Competitive Equity Factor for the classification of non-public schools was approved by the Arkansas Activities Association board of directors on the first day of its annual workshop.
The Competitive Equity Factor uses a formula to determine whether a private school has been overly competitive in a sport in its assigned classification over a four-year period. If so, this school will be upgraded by an additional classification for this sport for the next four years.
The competitive equity factor was adopted with 157 for and 28 against. It was created to level the playing field between public and private schools after concerns were raised about the disproportionate number of state championships won by private schools
With the approval of the Competitive Equity Factor, the member schools have also agreed to amend Section 10, Rule 1 of the AAA Bylaws, which requires classification adjustments 16, 16, 32, 48, 48, 48. Public schools are assigned their classifications based on the three-year average of students in grades 9-11, after which non-public schools are assigned classifications based on adjustments to the competitive equity factor.
Non-public schools or private schools are already being increased by one classification. The Competitive Equity Factor could raise a school with an additional classification for achieving 10 competitive balance sheet points over the four-year period, which includes:
3 – Runner-up in a state championship game
2 – Playoff win
1 – conference championship
Points cannot be accumulated and most of the points a team can earn in a season are four.
Teams can also be removed from a classification if they earn two or fewer points.
The competitive equity factor starts for the school year 2022/23. Points are determined for the last three seasons and the coming school year.
Implementation of the Competitive Equity Factor concludes the hearing on Arkansas House Bill 1097, filed in January, calling on the Arkansas Activities Association to create either two separate conference systems or playoff and state tournament systems for public schools and private schools.
The main sponsor of House Bill 1097 was Jim Wooten, a Republican representative for Beebe.
In team sports, private schools won the following state championships in the 2020/2021 school year:
Soccer – Pulaski Academy (5A), Shiloh Christian (4A), Harding Academy (3A)
Boys’ basketball – Harding Academy (3A)
Baseball – Harding Academy (3A)
Softball – Baptist Preparation (3A)
Girls’ Football – Pulaski Academy (4A), Harding Academy (3A)
Also, Little Rock Christian played in the Class 5A Football Championship, Sacred Heart played in the Girls ‘Class 1A Basketball Championship, and Harding Academy played in the Boys’ Class 3A Championship. There were no private schools in the state championship games of girls’ basketball or volleyball.
– From Leland Barclay; Shiloh Christian photo by Jimmy Jones