The 97th annual boys basketball State Tournament tips off this morning -- the 41st at the Charleston Civic Center, if you're counting -- and one thing about the atmosphere remains recently consistent and disturbing.
It's the public versus private high school rancor and rhetoric, and this time, I'm not just talking about four Class A quarterfinals today that feature such emotion-stirring bracketing.
The timing of Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 81 is as odious as the proposed study originating in the state Senate Education Committee is odiferous legislation.
That means it stinks.
If you're not familiar with this latest public school-rooted proposal to make private school athletic competition separate (or separate and unequal), well, let's just say it is a tired subject that's anything but original, but it is somewhat venomous.
It was brought into the state Capitol last week in the waning days of the Legislature and presented to the Senate Education Committee by Sissonville girls soccer Coach Ali Sadeghian.
The word got out among all of the busy-ness in the Legislature's final days because when Sadeghian made his presentation, someone with Charleston Catholic High interests was present.
Usually, it's left to a Class A public school basketball coach or two to get into this, given the soapbox after what it usually a State Tournament loss. I predict we'll hear it again once or twice in postgame interviews today, too.
Anyway, the resolution drawn up after Sadeghian's Education Committee visit wants the Joint Committee on Government and Finance to study methods of improving the fairness of competition between public and non-public schools in West Virginia - with the study to be funded by legislative appropriations to that committee.
That's your tax dollars, folks.
Besides, this matter isn't for the Senate and House of Delegates to lob back and forth. It's an SSAC matter, if a matter at all.
I'm stunned 11 senators put their name on SCR 81, especially Erik Wells of Kanawha County, who has been nothing but a champion for charter schools, which, shall I say, are another form of "alternative education," sort of like private schools.
And doesn't the Senate Education Committee have more important matters with which to deal than school athletics, i.e. extracurricular activities?
What about the 180-day minimum that few counties reach because of snow days (and bogus field trips to Disney on Ice and West Virginia Power ballgames)?
What about the Mountain State's poor standing nationally in public education?
What about the forever volleying with teacher's unions over pay, workload, etc.?
If this resolution ever even makes it out of committee, if a dime is wasted on a study, it's ridiculous and the Private-Prohibition 11, as I will call those senators, should be ashamed.