The use of 5th-year seniors comes under question in Charlotte

Our recent discussions on the public school/private school issue of to-play, or not to-play, have seemed to really center around the use or non-use of 5th-year seniors by the private schools and whether or not that is deemed fair or un-fair and if this practice creates an un-equal playing field/court…..

Lanston Wertz Jr. from the Charlotte Observer has gathered information and put together his thoughts on the subject and we have included a few key points and then he has much, much, more to say about this subject at Click Here……

Here is just a small look at what he says creating all the stir…..

Mecklenburg County public schools voted 25 years ago to stop playing the private schools. Five years ago, four of Charlotte’s biggest private schools – Charlotte Latin, Charlotte Christian, Charlotte Country Day and Providence Day – voted to eliminate the fifth-year rule.

“We were told the reason why the public schools didn’t play us was because we allowed fifth-year seniors,” Providence Day athletics director Barbara Fricke said. “So we stopped it five years ago to try to play Mecklenburg (public) schools and stay closer to home.”

But local public school teams didn’t change their rules, to allow the scheduling of regular-season games with private school teams. Fricke, though, has seen some progress.

“It has loosened up for tournaments,” she said. “Our baseball teams plays in the Myers Park baseball tournament. We played in tennis tournaments with some public schools. I wish – and you put this as a big wish – that it would loosen up across the board. It’s expensive to run programs and we’re always running out of town to play.”


  1. Interesting article. I think too many private schools are “re-classing” kids. If this does not help a kid academically then re-classing should not take place. This is an advantange for teams. I see teams in this area who have kids that should be in college this year and some that should be seniors. These kids have an advantage because they are older (strength, experience etc…). I see this in AAU as well with the so called “grade exception” rule. That one year makes a bigger difference than people think.

  2. They should be allowed to play public schools during the regular season, but the private schools should not play against public schools during the state tournament. That would solve a lot of problems. If the public schools don’t want to play these private schools, just don’t schedule them. I have heard people say the Forsyth County schools have an unfair adavantage because of the open enrollment policy. If we are searching for a completely “fair” system, it is not going to happen. Let’s just enjoy the games. The kids appear to be enjoying them.

  3. I think sometimes the private schools need to do this to be competitive. An example is Westchester. They have reclassed some players and should now be competitive. This really doesn’t hurt anyone. It gives some athletes an opportunity to maybe play at the next level. A guy that has reclassed is a year more mature and thus should “show” a little better than he did the previous year.

  4. Tom,
    The public schools do not play the privates in the state tournament. The only ones that do are the three parochial catholic schools and they are not allowed to reclass and transfers have to sit out a year.
    GDS does not play publics in the state tournament. Just the regular season.

  5. please keep in mind that not all kids will re-class. the primary purpose of these kids going to these private schools is for the best education that they can get because most will never play once in college so it is education first. you are normally only re-classed if you do not score high enough on the entry exams. the private school kids are generally about a 1 or so in front of the public school kids from an educational standpoint. in order for a lot of these kids to survive in the classroom, they often get re-classed to ensure success in the classroom. some kids are able to make the transfer without re-classing.

  6. For this reason is why GDS should not play
    in the little four. They have won it I think 5 years
    in a roll except for this past year, and they are taking the joy from winning
    the little four from other kids that work hard in
    public schools. They really don’t bring in that much money
    take them out of pubilc school polls and little four. Or let them play other private
    schools. Let’s handle this problem b/c it is getting out of control.
    I know GDS has played in the little four since it started, but we need

  7. taking GDS out of the PHI would be a foolish move or the same as financial suicide at some point. it is bad enough that Dudley has not been in the tournament for the past 2 years. Now you would suggest taking GDS out – who would want to attend such a tournament without both GDS and Dudley? GDS also has one of the highest school direct ticket purchase programs in the PHI. Currently this tournament is best serviced with the drawing power of schools like GDS, Northern, Page and Dudley. It would be nice if someone like Andy could get the #s from the PHI people on how many direct tickets were sold from each school for this past year and/or the past 3 years.

    the bottomline is be careful what you wish for because you may find yourself without the tournament one day if we keep putting teams like GDS and Dudley out of the games.

  8. remember why you are there, let’s be honest, the kids I am referring to and the article is talking about are not going to public school for a “better” education. Most of these kids’ parents believe that another year will give their kids an opportunity to get that scholarship and I am not talking about an academic scholarship. Thus if you are a year older which means you are stronger, have more games or experience playing. This was not the case years ago. So much has changed in High School athletics, some for the good and some has damaged the integrity of High School sports.

  9. Everyone speaking out against private schools here is seemingly missing one important point:

    The only thing that REALLY matters is the upper age limit.

    There is minimal physical difference (Can one even conjecture on this in one way or another?) between an 18 year-old senior and an 18 year-old junior. Following on this, the NCISAA (the independent schools association) has a MORE (NOT less) restrictive age policy than the NCHSAA.

    If you turn 19 before August 1 in the NCISAA, you cannot play. In the NCHSAA, youy get an extra month (Sept. 1). Is that even a big difference? No. But it speaks to the point that you won’t necessarily have older players in private schools for illegitimate reasons.

    Most of these reclassifications at credible private schools have more to do with academics than hoops. The bread-and-butter of Greensboro Day School in the high school grades is NOT basketball. Basketball doesn’t even make the top 10 list. At the top of that list, from a marketing and admissions perspective, is COLLEGE PLACEMENT. If you can get into the GDS Upper School but it is decided that you really need to repeat your prior year, the rationale behind this is going to be the fact that you need to catch up academically, not athletically.

    GDS would not sacrifice its stellar academic reputation to reclassify a high academic-achieving basketball phenom in order to get another year of hoops.

    Anyone who thinks so has ZERO understanding of how Greensboro Day operates and is acting out of spite / jealousy / you name it. You have no clue.

  10. Re-classing in private schools is done for one reason only. Kids reclass in private schools to try and gain a competitive advantage. They want an extra year to develop from an athletic standpoint. Very seldom does a kid reclass from a public school to a private school for academics. It is done strictly for competitive reasons in athletics. I am a firm believer public schools should not ever schedule a private school that has 5th year players. Let them travel and play other private schools so they are on an equal playing field.

  11. I want my child to play the bigger better stronger player. He may not win that game on that day but he gains in the long run. I do not think they should be in the public school conferences or play in the state games but just a random game bring it . I say leave it up to the coach.

  12. Wild Man Stan, you are clueless to what is and has gone on in the private schools. I have experienced coaches calling and coming to games asking if my child would consider “reclassing”. They give you every reason except for academics. Take off the blinders, GDS is not a perfect place. Private and public schools have issues. You seem to have no clue about all of the recruiting that has goes on in High School athletics. No jealousy just stating the obvious.


  14. I just came from the GDS game and I don’t know what the GDS haters are talking about. They are not loaded with talent. They just play so hard. If I was coaching an area high school team, I would want to play them so that my team would see how to play team defense. There are plenty of public schools with equal or greater talent so it would be a shame if they didn’t have the opportunity to play GDS.

  15. It’s posters like Wahoos and the “Re-Class” wonder duo who do this conversation no good at all.

    You simply have no idea how an independent school works. That’s okay, but please don’t hijack the discussion with your meaningless, unfounded ramblings.

    GDS stands to gain far more by getting well over 50% of its UNC-CH applicants accepted on the first go-around, by getting 30 or so kids each year into top-ranked national universities and liberal arts colleges, and 100% of all its graduates into four-year colleges than it does than it does from winning the Little Four, or PHI or whatever you call it.

    Keep living your basketball fantasies as if it really rates as a high priority at GDS. Whatever makes you feel better.

  16. WildManStan is lost and clueless. I think this discussion was about athletics, not academics. The discussion is about playing schools with 5th year seniors, not how many kids get accepted into UNC-CH. So, I guess your stance is that kids re-class at GDS to get a better opportunity to get accepted to UNC-CH. Yes, GDS prepares it’s kids academically. Your are in a fantasy world if you think the 5th year seniors at GDS reclassed for academic purposes. Get a clue and read the headlines before you decide to call out others who make legitimate points on a great discussion topic. This topic comes up every year and has absolutley nothing to do with academics or how many kids are accepted at UNC-CH.

  17. Wahoo – you are missing the entire point that wildmanstan is trying to explain. the basketball is very good at GDS but the education is EXCEPTIONAL! the kids at GDS are about the words, phrases, formulas and numbers from 8am-4pm, about the b-ball from 4pm or until practice or game ends, and then its back to the words, #s, etc.. the point is that the education is #1 because most of these kids will never play a minute in college but all of them will get a great education in college because they are prepared to learn.

    if you cannot survive the classroom, then you cannot play b-ball at GDS. re-classing is the only way some of these kids would survive the class. while most of the high schools in this city have some type of special acedemy or college bound program for high learners that will have 30 or 40 kids in the program – GDS has the entire student body in college bound programs from the 1st to the last student. so, lets not get it twisted on what GDS is about 1st – which is top notch students whether atheletes or not.

  18. Whatever spin you want to put on the subject, the answer is still the same. Teams with 5th year seniors have a definite advantage over public schools. Most likely, the player is very talented and gains another year of eligibility. This is the groundwork for an unfair playing field. Call it what you want. It is done specifically to create a competitive advantage for the player. 95% of the time it is done to position themselves to have a better opportunity to gain the athletic scholarship they desire. Yes, you do have the few kids that could not make the grade in public school and transfer to a private school so they can reclass with smaller classes. I get that concept. It still smells of an unfair playing field because the public school system does not allow but 4 years of particpation in athletics. Some of these kids will be two years older than other kids in their class during their senior season. You consider this ideal?? You consider this a fair playing field? How many kids transfer to GDS and reclass without sports?? NONE!

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