23 private schools sign letter to support AHSAA in federal lawsuit

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(AL.com) — Representatives of 29 of the Alabama's 51 private schools met in Montgomery this week to discuss the possible impacts of St. Paul's federal civil lawsuit against the Alabama High School Athletic Association.

The result? A letter drafted in support of the AHSAA and signed by many of the schools in attendance. It was sent to AHSAA officials on Wednesday afternoon.

"We wanted to send something out in support of the association and its rules so the public knows where a lot of private schools stand," said Houston Academy head football coach Jamie Riggs.

St. Paul's, a private school in Mobile, Ala., is seeking an injunction against a newly implemented AHSAA rule that requires some successful private school athletic teams to play up an additional classification. The state already has a 1.35 student multiplier in addition to the new competitive balance factor.

Judge William H. Steele has canceled a hearing on the case originally scheduled for Friday morning, instead determining he had enough in the written arguments by each side to make a ruling. That could come at any time.

The public vs. private school debate has raged for years in many states and certainly in Alabama. Riggs said this week's meeting of private schools, which took place at Montgomery Catholic Prep, was important and fruitful.

"It was a great time for people to ask questions," said Riggs, who spent 30 years as a head coach at a pair of public schools (T.R. Miller and Opp.) "I think a lot of schools who came to the meeting had minimal knowledge of the lawsuit itself. The one thing we really didn't do is debate that.

"We did talk about what some of the possibilities would be if St. Paul's were successful with the injunction and what some might be if it was denied and where to we go from there."

You can read the complete letter.

More on this story at AL.com.

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