Six of the 10 teams in the high school football state finals this week are private schools, keeping with a trend of recent years.
There were seven private schools last year and six in 2010. Since the Indiana High School Athletic Association went to five classes in 1985, private schools -- which currently constitute 7.0 percent of the football-playing schools -- have won 46.3 percent of the titles in classes A, 2A, 3A and 4A. There are no private schools in 5A.
The IHSAA addressed the issue by adding a tournament success factor, which will be implemented next year.
Five of the teams playing this weekend (Cathedral, Bishop Chatard, Fort Wayne Bishop Luers, Scecina and Lafayette Central Catholic) have accumulated the six points through postseason success required to move up a class next fall, when the IHSAA will also add a sixth class.
"I'm not wasting any time or sleep over it," said Bishop Chatard coach Vince Lorenzano, whose team will play Hamilton Heights at noon Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in the 3A finals. "I honestly don't have much comment about it because I just don't care. We go where we're told to go and play who we're going to play. If they move us to 5A or 6A, it wouldn't matter. We've never shied away from the competition."
Scecina coach Ott Hurrle said he would have preferred to see the IHSAA consider the proposal from the Indiana Football Coaches Association that would have based the success factor on a four-year cycle instead of two. In 2002, Hurrle was the coach when Scecina decided to remain in 2A when it would have been in Class A by its enrollment numbers. After going 11-4 in the postseason the previous three seasons, the Crusaders were 1-4 in the tournament when playing up.
"I just thought the IFCA got slapped in the face by the whole deal," Hurrle said. "The coaches association spent a lot of time and effort and really researched it well and did a lot of behind the scenes work. It doesn't bother me to play at 2A -- we've been 2A and volunteered to stay there at one point -- but I just felt like all the work that the IFCA did was completely ignored."
The IFCA proposal was more comprehensive. It included seeding the sectional tournament and a socioeconomic factor, the latter which was later dropped.
IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox has said that the tournament success factor -- which applies to all team sports -- will be re-evaluated after its use for one two-year cycle.
"The four-year cycle would be a better determination of a program rather than having two really good classes back-to-back," said Cathedral coach Rick Streiff, whose team will go for a third consecutive 4A title when it plays Mishawaka at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. "I think four years gives you a little bit more of a broad spectrum of how the program is run and how successful it is."
The impact of the tournament success factor will be based on which teams show up at Lucas Oil Stadium at the end of the season. That will take at least two years, possibly more, to determine.
Western Michigan's weekend firing of football coach Bill Cubit after a 4-8 record leaves the commitment of several Indianapolis-area recruits in question. Among those who had committed to Western Michigan are three players in the state championship games: Lawrence Central defensive tackles Deshai Powell and Derrick Dunlap and Cardinal Ritter defensive tackle Armond Jones. Also committed to the Broncos are Warren Central tight end Evan Faunce and Carmel offensive lineman Matt Sinclair.
Mishawaka boasts one of the more unusual nicknames in high school sports -- Cavemen. Mishawaka coach Bart Curtis dubbed his team the "Cardiac Cavemen" for its three comeback wins so far in the tournament. . . . With a win, Bishop Luers (2A) and Lafayette Central Catholic (A) would tie Warren Central's 2003-06 teams with four consecutive state titles.