Friday night Hunt will host Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons in the first meeting on the gridiron between the schools. It will also be the third round of N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-AA playoffs.
Gibbons just joined the NCHSAA in 2005 after being admitted as a private school. Previously, Gibbons was a member of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association. Two other private schools, Charlotte Catholic and Kernersville Bishop McGuiness, are NCHSAA members and have done quite well, like Gibbons.
Which begs the seasonal question: Is it fair for private schools, with no district boundaries, to compete against public schools? I've heard plenty of public school coaches say it's not and I'm split on the issue. It's not a matter of recruiting, which is forbidden by the NCHSAA and the NCISAA but happens within both organizations. I do think not having district boundaries gives private schools an edge. Of course, private school students have to pay to attend those schools since scholarships — at least full ones — are also prohibited.
Here's a good solution that has been advocated for some time: Let the private schools join the NCHSAA but put them all in the 4-A classification. After all, a student population drawn from a specific area isn't quite the same as one drawn from one without boundaries. Besides, given the success enjoyed by Gibbons, Charlotte Catholic and McGuiness, I'm sure all three could compete and succeed at the 4-A level.
And as an aside to that, I'd like to see private schools and public schools play each other more consistently, especially here in Wilson where it's non-existent.