Doug Robinson: Time to move on for Wasatch Academy

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  • bookonwomen Beverly Hills, CA
    March 10, 2014 11:10 a.m.

    Enterprise and South Sevier should play a game to decide the 2A championship. WA is clearly Ina higher league and should play in one.

  • steck27 The Woodlands, TX
    March 8, 2014 9:39 a.m.

    I am sure the reporter is correct in assuming WA recruits students for their basketball skills. It would be easy for him to now do an investigative piece showing how this is done. There are certainly 15 and 16 year old boys all over the world who would like to leave their very wealthy families and come to play ball in the world renown hotbed of high school basketball known as "Utah 2A" basketball competition. These kids can look forward to two hour study halls five days a week, and a life in rural Utah with all of its attractions aimed at youth. You might also show that the school has so much excess cash that they can throw it at these athletes at the expense of all other students. Yup, you can easily show that 130+ years of recruiting is finally paying off for the rich and spoiled.

  • Rural sport fan DUCHESNE, UT
    March 7, 2014 9:20 a.m.

    @ Coolio
    "rural schools will refuse to play any other private school that dares compete year in and year out

    Well, that is simply not true. Layton Christian, St Josephs, Juan Diego, Judge...all very successful, but obviously we aren't refusing to play them.

    But they also generally have the same kids from Junior High on, just like the public schools. They aren't out bringing in National Junior team members from other countries, as WA is.

    WA isn't the problem. Private schools aren't the problem. The problem is the way the UHSAA arranges things.

  • 4blade2007 Provo, Utah
    March 7, 2014 8:46 a.m.

    Thank you Doug Robinson for this article. Back in the day I am sure there are many high school sports fans that remember Region 7 sports, and yes WA had a basketball team - not a very good one . One particular season I remember both Juab and Gunnison beating WA by 70-80 points. I don't remember their religious affiliation but WA was owned by a church. Now that they have no religious affiliation and a private school they make their own rules as for admission, etc. The UHSAA needs to learn from the past and close some loop holes so we avoid these issues.

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    March 6, 2014 11:20 p.m.

    If the 4a and 5a schools want to improve their basketball, they'll invite WA to compete with them. Other than Lone Peak, the basketball in this state is nothing exceptional. Having this situation has to be played to the advantage of all. And, if WA loses against those 2 top divisions, they've improved their BB too. It can't be that beneficial to WA to walk all over the 2a schools either if they're really recruiting etc. win-win.

  • carver Enterprise, UT
    March 6, 2014 9:44 p.m.


    Have you misunderstood what the real issue is?

    The only issue here is that one school has a great advantage over the other 100+ schools in the state.

    Please don't try to paint a picture that has no relevance.

  • Coolio SLC, UT
    March 6, 2014 3:58 p.m.

    Amazing that the UHSAA railroaded Wasatch Academy into independence. Now their kids can't compete for a Region or State title.

    All Private Schools should take notice of this.

    Because essentially it shows that if you put a championship team on the floor rural schools like South Sevier will discriminate against you and not play you. And on the other hand the UHSAA will not allow you to play up in classification to avoid the discrimination.

    So to protect their students from the ugliness and constant attacks from rural schools, Wasatch Academy has to sacrifice post season play.

    That's just wrong.

    And now that this precedent will be set, rural schools will refuse to play any other private school that dares compete year in and year out for a championship. South Sevier has proven you can refuse to play a private school until they are forced into independence.

    Articles like this only add to the discrimination.

    It's one thing to have to put up with the anti private rhetoric in the small towns, now privates must endure it in the media.

  • Bulldog22 Gunnison, UT
    March 6, 2014 3:27 p.m.

    @BooYa did Richfields boy's even make it to state last year? I think not.

  • Jack of trades SLC, UT
    March 6, 2014 2:27 p.m.

    Yeah private schools are the problem. I hate how 95 percent of them field teams in multiple sports year after year and provide the smaller classification public schools more teams to play. I hate how 95 percent of them struggle to put enough kids on the courts and ball fields. I hate how 95% of them don't ever win ANY games at the state tournament and yet they never complain about ANYTHING. I hate that. Yeah, it's time to get rid of them ALL!!! Put them in their own league, let them only compete against each other. We don't need them in our rural towns. I mean 95% percent of them have won nothing in baseball, basketball, and football. They offer no competition.

  • small school fan Duchesne, UT
    March 6, 2014 12:46 p.m.

    @ David RI

    "Terms like "expensive boarding schools" and "Team United Nations" and "local" are offensive and backward thinking."

    They are only offensive if one is offended by the truth. I can see how some would see expressing the truth as backward thinking, we seem to have made PC doublespeak the new "truth".

    The fact us that private schools do operate differently. Public schools don't advertise for students, private schools do.

    Not all private schools are the same, so let's stop pointing out that many private schools don't compete well, that has no bearing in the fact that this private school is enjoying enormous success by playing within a set of flawed rules. Other private schools have done the same, though not as successfully.

    In other states, there are different solutions to this type of problem, and it works well. Why can't Utah use one of them?

    If the UHSAA doesn't get this thing settled, Utah HS sports and the athletes...the kids... will suffer.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    March 6, 2014 12:35 p.m.

    Follow the money. And while I hate to agree with any Ute fan I do agree with Utewins assessment of the situation in football. He forgot to mention Cottonwood and Skyline back in the day.

  • JD Books Sulphurdale, UT
    March 6, 2014 12:13 p.m.

    A few years ago people accused the great SS Rams of recruiting. It was proven before the UHSAA that there was no wrong doing. This has also been proven time and time again as far as Wasatch Academy was concerned. Many have said have them move up to 3A. That is not the solution. They would have beaten all of the 3A teams by 20 or 30 instead of the 40 point differences than 2A. Don't be too critical of Wasatch Academy. They play within the guidelines they were given, just like every other school does.

  • county mom Monroe, UT
    March 6, 2014 11:50 a.m.

    Hartford, CT
    Since your entire state is smaller then the Watsatch front.
    I should explain what things are like out here, and the distances we travel to watch our teams.
    We support our little towns, no one drives their child to go to a different school here. People in Monroe do not drive their child to Gunnison to school it is a 45 minute drive.

    (With private schools parents of more "giffted" students are offered scholarships that will give their child a place to live and a guarantee of a state tittle with the championship ring that comes with it. This makes the child able to apply to university and practically guarantees them better scholarships to college. )

    We drive 4 hours to watch a football game between San Juan and South Sevier. If San Juan and North Summit are playing it will be a 6 hour drive over high mountains.
    Enterprise and South Summit are almost as far apart.
    Most of us "country bumpkins" are fiercely loyal to our town and our school, we go the distance.
    We can make the best of what we have, we always do, but we can't compete with the money available to private schools.

  • Chris from Rose Park Hartford, CT
    March 6, 2014 11:20 a.m.

    It sounds to me, from the article, that Wasatch Academy wants to move up in classification. Since UHSSA won't allow them the exception they are seeking to move to Independence. I don't like how this article makes Wasatch Academy feel like a bully. A few years back, they weren't that great. Then they got a new coach, someone determined to make things better. Being a private school, he leveraged his recruiting abilities and now the team is doing great. There is nothing wrong with that. They want the ability to have even competition in all their sports, not just basketball, and that's why they're not going to move their entire athletics program to a higher classification. UHSSA needs to bend and change the rules to allow only basketball to move up in classification, since they already have football exceptions allowed.

    Let's just not make it sound like Wasatch Academy is doing something wrong or unfair. Let the kids play and let's find them the appropriate competition.

  • 2afan Layton, UT
    March 6, 2014 11:08 a.m.

    JD Books, thanks for your intelligent comment. I also hated the WA situation but the issue is with WA not any other private school. LCA didn't even make it past the first round. all this uninformed emotional and unhealthy attitudes towards private schools is working against the public schools with the UHSAA.

  • county mom Monroe, UT
    March 6, 2014 10:49 a.m.

    Delta, Manti, Richfield are way larger then the rest of our little towns, yet strangely they keep coming back down to 2A?

    I also do not trust the UHSAA.

  • jackstraw Manti, UT
    March 6, 2014 10:48 a.m.

    Saying that they would have to move all sports up to the same level is so false it is funny. Manti was moved to 3a for Football after dominating 2a schools. This happened after all the 2a schools complained about Manti and how unfair it was. The rest of Manti is 2a for all other sports. I love the fact checking here.

  • One Angry Salebarn Worker Madison, SD
    March 6, 2014 10:47 a.m.

    Utah, time to step up and get it right. It's time for private schools to have their own state championship. They draw on so many other resources and funds than do public schools. Texas and other states do it. Just do it--it solves so many equality problems that you'll still be dealing with a long way down the road.

  • nebocreek Nephi, UT
    March 6, 2014 10:31 a.m.

    The UHSAA should create a private school classification. They can schedule whoever they want to. They might even consider having an at large opening for the 4A and 5A tournament that would allow them to invite one of the private schools to the state tournament. The private schools-including the Charter Schools- won't always have the kind of team that WA has put together. So, allowing them to participate in a state tournament by invitation because of the success of their team during a particularly great year,could possibly create a very interesting tournament every year. The rest of the private schools could have their own state tournament.

  • JD Books Sulphurdale, UT
    March 6, 2014 9:29 a.m.

    The UHSAA can't create just a "private school" division because the same problem would exist. How would a small private school like ICS compete with Layton Christian or Wasatch academy in basketball or other sports? It would be no different that taking Bingham and having them play North Sevier in football. Going independent is the best thing for Wasatch Academy. Let's now forget they have an elite coach now. However, he will most likely leave in the next few years and will their success leave with him? If so, will the UHSAA take them back into the fold as a 2A basketball member? Basketball Independence is a short term band aid for this particular situation but it does not ultimately solve the problem.

  • sherlock holmes Eastern, UT
    March 6, 2014 9:16 a.m.

    We should not that Judge Memorial DID win a football championship this school year, in the small-school 3aa division, where they played the smaller rural schools.

    Judge should be commended for moving up to 4a, where they are very competitive. Their football team should have followed, at least to 3a. Somewhat of a disconnect to see them playing the small rural schools.

  • jc2005 Cedar City, UT
    March 6, 2014 9:11 a.m.


    Great point

  • Uteswin! Bountiful, UT
    March 6, 2014 9:02 a.m.

    How is this any different than what Timpview,East,and Bingham are doing in football with their creation of all-star teams that do not live in their respective districts?

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    March 6, 2014 8:50 a.m.

    It doesn't make sense. If Wasatch wants to be "elite", why would they ever want to stay in 2A. They should be the loudest in demanding a change.

    Otherwise, beating up small kids won't provide much fulfillment for long.

  • Blue Collar Huntington, UT
    March 6, 2014 8:36 a.m.

    I don't like the idea of them going independent, I believe that it will eventually destroy the high school game. I think you will end up with teams leaving to go to the private league, and the best players will leave the high schools. I hope that never happens but I think this is the beginning.

    Why don't they make a rule that if a private school beats it's opponents in its classification by an average of 15 points for one year or so , then you have to move up 1 classification, 25 points two classifications, etc. You could set standards for all sports.

    I hope they don't destroy the high school game, but I don't have much faith in the UHSSA.

  • bradleyc Layton, UT
    March 6, 2014 8:32 a.m.

    The High School Activities association should have a private school league.

  • Bulldog26 Gunnison, UT
    March 6, 2014 8:22 a.m.

    @MovieBuff1 - You have a good point there.

  • jc2005 Cedar City, UT
    March 6, 2014 8:06 a.m.

    This hurts WA more than anyone else, put them with similar competition so they can be challenged and improve. Why won't the state make the exception for them? 4a and 5a don't want to deal with them. That's all there is to it. The UHSAA will bend over backwards for 4a and 5a and 4a and 5a don't want WA so they'll just have to go independent.

  • jc2005 Cedar City, UT
    March 6, 2014 8:06 a.m.

    The teachers in private schools still have to get their license from the State Government. Public schools are ran by local School District boards so parents have a lot of say, especially in small towns. There's nothing wrong with public education. Not everyone can afford to go to Wasatch Academy(unless they get a scholarship because they're good at basketball). We aren't talking about the academics though, we're talking about fair athletic competition. If we allow a 2a school to draw from a world wide population we might as well not have classifications. The whole point of classifications is to even the playing field and make things more interesting. 5a is 5a because they have a larger population to draw on, and 2a public schools don't.

  • moviebuff1 Ephraim, UT
    March 6, 2014 8:01 a.m.

    Here's a question .. if the recruiting has always been about academics why don't we ever see any Wasatch Academy Players as Academic All-State?? Anybody ever wonder that?

  • KG South Jordan, UT
    March 6, 2014 8:00 a.m.

    Those poor private school kids. Some of them can't have their cake and eat it too. That must be hard! They want the perks of a private education, but they want the taxpayers to foot the bill for gyms, weight rooms, etc. And they want to draw athletes from all over the SL Valley, or Utah County, or in Wasatch Academy's case, all of the world, and then steam roll over teams that draw from a couple hundred local yokels in rural Utah.

    Open enrollment has ruined high school athletics in urban Utah, and private schools competing with rural schools will continue to ruin high school sports in rural Utah. For those relegated to public school, play where you live! For those fortunate enough to go to private schools, play where competition is comparable!

  • scrappy do DRAPER, UT
    March 6, 2014 7:50 a.m.

    Wasatch Academy basketball is a very different animal and I think the UHSAA was very naive in their thinking on the situation. I suspect the Wasatch Academy Administration sees the basketball program as a way to promote their school and give it some sort of an edge in marketing to the crowd that they are pursuing, in essence they have created a nationally recognized basketball prep school, something new for Utah but nothing new if you read the national news. This should have become evident to the UHSAA pretty quickly and they should have forced the issue with WA.. go independent or go to the highest state level, something to that effect. Hopefully now, the UHSAA will take the blinders off and think outside the box

  • Bulldog26 Gunnison, UT
    March 6, 2014 7:00 a.m.

    @Coolio - You mention all the perks that are found in a public school, like "gyms and weight rooms"; I would mention the perks of a private school who was able to play out of state in not one, but two tournaments. (one being in Alaska). Pease name one other public school, besides Lone Peak, who was able to do that.

  • David RI SLC, UT
    March 5, 2014 11:21 p.m.

    Another problem with the tone of this article. It paints private schools and student recruitment as the problem, when open enrollment is a FACT in public schools.

    Utah public schools are behind the rest of the nation in regards to education. Our public schools are in the latter half of states in Math and Reading. What's interesting about this is that Utah is the most conservative state in America. Interesting because when the state had a vote on the "conservative" ideology of vouchers it was defeated. So instead of giving CHOICE to our citizens in regards to education we voted NO. The cry was for more taxpayer money to fund GOVERNMENT schools. The irony in that is amazing.

    Utahn's value conservative principles yet cling to their government schools. There whole way of life centers around them as this article points out.

    Utah needs to catch up. We need to start looking at the value of private education, like we value private business. It can be part of the solution. It has much to offer. Free thinking, diversity, and independence. If they happen to win a title or two, include them, don't exclude, build friendships, diversify.

  • jc2005 Cedar City, UT
    March 5, 2014 10:33 p.m.

    Why won't the UHSAA make the exception for them then?

  • David RI SLC, UT
    March 5, 2014 10:26 p.m.

    What a slam on private education. Utah can only go backwards with the ideology expressed in this article. A few remarks from the article, and I'll paraphrase...

    High school basketball is better when you are "competing against teams made up of locals"

    "Now a ringer has arrived on the scene, an expensive boarding school."

    "Team United Nations has put a powerhouse on the court."

    "And what about the potential of other private schools, which, like Wasatch Academy, can recruit and scholarship students (who happen to be good athletes)?"

    Well, Mr. Robinson, what about public schools and their potential to recruit?

    He also goes on to justify South Sevier refusing to play WA for 4 quarters, because in the state tourney when they did, they lost by 37 points. I see his point, if you lose by more than 17 points you should just quit. What about the private schools the past 5 years in 1A who are losing by 80 points to public schools. Did they hold the ball? No. Where is the article on public school domination in those games? 80 points? There has to be an advantage?

    Terms like "expensive boarding schools" and "Team United Nations" and "local" are offensive and backward thinking.

  • Coolio SLC, UT
    March 5, 2014 10:03 p.m.

    So this was the pro-public school article that gave no facts about win loss percentages between Public and Private schools. An article that spoke nothing about the taxpayer funded gyms, weight rooms, and other public advantages. Spoke nothing about the underfunded private schools that can't even afford to buy uniforms and have no gyms of their own to even practice in. When is the pro-private school article coming out?

    This isn't the first time Mr. Robinson has lashed out at private schools, he did it before when a private won it back in the early 2000's.

    Facts are not important I guess. There are at least 15 private schools competing in 1A-4A basketball this year. how many advanced to the final four in their state tournaments? Only one, Wasatch Academy. But Mr. Robinson speaks the tired old argument the private schools play by an unfair advantage and take dreams away from small town kids. I guess private school kids don't have dreams.

    Truth is, it doesn't matter if a private school wins a title with 15 kids that went to that school k-12. The public's will whine, even when they have recruits.

  • Uncle Sam West Jordan, UT
    March 5, 2014 9:48 p.m.

    Dear Washington D.C.: No, that is not the answer. Not even close.

    Students should be allowed to (and are) attend any school that they want for educational purposes. But athletics are a privilege, it has been proven in U.S. courts that playing extra-curricular sports is not a right. For that reason we need to go to a "play where you live" rule and eliminate the recruiting. It is totally out of hand.

    As for the 4A and 5A comment, they are not scared of Wasatch Academy. Bring them up and see how long they last playing a 21 game regular season against the bigger physical teams and then have to go through 4 straight wins against top talented and top coached teams. They won't last, trust me. Bring them up and see, I am all for it.

  • jc2005 Cedar City, UT
    March 5, 2014 9:13 p.m.

    4A and 5A are scared of Wasatch Academy, and the UHSAA is scared of the noise 4A and 5A would make about having to deal with Wasatch Academy. That's why they won't make an exception for them like they did for Judge, JD, Manti, Delta, Kanab, etc.

  • cowboy51 Laporte, CO
    March 5, 2014 7:58 p.m.

    Why does judge football play in 3A and not 3AA and all other sports in 4A?????? And Manti who lost the championship game to judge in football plays all other sports in 2A. Does not make any sense. Then Wasatch Academy request the boys basketball move up for more competition gets denied?????

  • Me, Myself and I The Promised Land, UT
    March 5, 2014 6:47 p.m.

    The mess created from that decision has spilled the smaller 3A football schools down to 2A in everything else. How is that fair to anyone, especially the in between schools who compete in 3A in everything, like Juab, N. Sanpete, Canyon View and Richfield to name a few. Clean it up UHSAA do the right thing even if it is unprecedented and while you're at it no more schools in split classifications, unless its allowing 1A schools to play 2A baseball because they also have a football program and can't compete during the traditional fall 1A baseball season.

  • Me, Myself and I The Promised Land, UT
    March 5, 2014 6:47 p.m.

    What a crock! The UHSAA allows split classifications for schools already. For example Delta and Manti play football at the 3A level while the rest of their sports compete in 2A. The UHSAA doesn't have a leg to stand on when they make say its all have to move up or none can. The Judge example given in this story again shows it doesn't have to be all or none. The entire 3AA football classification is another strong example of schools competing in different classifications, considering all the schools from 3AA football compete in 3A in all other sports.

  • rhappahannock Washington, DC
    March 5, 2014 6:22 p.m.

    All the talk about the supposed "evils" of recruiting in the high school ranks never mention one very important item: a student developing their talents. It all about the "social impact," "self-esteem," "community Pride" and other squishy measures.

    I really don't care if Wasatch Academy is recruiting NBA stars - if the students feel that is the best situation to develop their talents, let them go there. If any student feels a different school is a better place to develop their talents, let them go there. The focus should be on the student, and helping them develop.

    Schools should be able to freely recruit, and students should be able to have freedom on where to attend. It is time to end rules against recruiting in Utah and elsewhere. Ultimately, they hurt the student athletes, and let school administrators get away with poor performance.

  • Boo Ya!!! Richfield, UT
    March 5, 2014 5:40 p.m.

    WHO was the last team to beat them in the 2A ranks?

    Thats Right!!! Richfield Wildcats.