Up & Coming Weekly

November 07, 2017

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

Issue link: http://www.epageflip.net/i/898180

Contents of this Issue


Page 28 of 36

28 UCW NOVEMBER 8 - 14, 2017 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM Homar Ramirez Jr. is starting his third year as executive director of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association. He recently paid a visit to Fayetteville and was a spectator at Fayetteville Academy's semifinal round game in the NCISAA 2-A soccer tournament. While there are no major issues con- fronting the NCISAA at the moment, Ramirez said growing the association would be a welcome improvement. "We have 93 schools in our associa- tion,'' he said. "Parity is a good thing, but when you don't have a lot of teams, you tend not to have that depth in the playoff experience.'' In a perfect world, Ramirez would like to see mem- bership increase to 120 schools, which would be a good fit with a plan to expand from three classifications to four. "A four-class system would not only be competi- tive, but more well-rounded,'' he said. There have been some complaints made about the outside influence being exerted in some sports in the NCISAA, notably AAU basket- ball. Ramirez is aware of the concerns and said the organization's handbook is regularly revised so the rules and processes of the NCISAA are clearly understood. "When red flags are raised, we make the phone calls, and we visit the schools,' he said. "We inves- tigate if that's the term you want to use. But a lot of the situations that come about are hearsay, and there's not a lot you can do with that.'' While he doesn't think these problems are ram- pant in the NCISAA, he said the organization has to be realistic. "Are their people pushing the envelope?'' he said. "We have concerns about that. But it's not the majority by any stretch.'' Ramirez is looking to a couple of pilot programs that are designed to increase participation opportu- nities for member schools. In football, two schools in the northeast corner of the state, Northeast and Hobgood, will be allowed to com- bine their athletes to field a football team. "We want to assess it to see if it's a good experience and if we want to offer it to schools looking to start a program,'' he said. Another pilot program in basketball will have every boys' and girls' team in the state qualify for the postseason. "We want to give these young people a chance to see what happens on the field,'' he said. Another big change for the association is the relo- cating of its headquarters from Asheville to the metro Charlotte area at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. "People can come to the state office and we'll show them our history that we're proud of,'' Ramirez said. "We're also more centrally located for our member schools.'' Ramirez hopes NCISAA will continue growing, improving by EARL VAUGHAN JR. No apologies for being old school when it comes to team building by EARL VAUGHAN JR. EARL VAUGHAN JR., Sports Editor. COMMENTS? EarlUCWS- ports@gmail.com. (910) 364-6638. HIGH SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS Homar Ramirez Jr., NCISAA executive director When it comes to high school athletics, I'm old school and make no apologies for it. During my years at Swain County and later West Rowan, you lived in a commu- nity and you attended the school where your home was. Fast forward to the 21st century. Yes, I know, times are different. Kids, and more often their parents, are driven to look for the best deal, the best opportunity. Sometimes it's for a good reason, like improved educa- tional opportunities. But when it's solely for sports, especially basketball, which seems to be the prime game where it's done, I tend to raise an eyebrow as to why. They move around from school to school to find the best athletic situation for a youngster they think is the next LeBron James. I had a great conversation recently with Homar Ramirez Jr., head of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association. He shared this observation with me: "It's just a matter of the climate of athletics as a whole, the expectations of our coaches, expectations parents have on their kids, and I'd call those unrealis- tic. But that's not unique to us.'' He's absolutely right. It goes to the highest levels of sports, like the NBA, where we see the top stars con- gregating to one team. Michael Wilbon, who appears on the ESPN show "Pardon The Interruption," nailed it recently when he talked about this trend of stars flocking together. He blamed it on what he called "massive egos and the AAU mentality.'' I couldn't agree more. It's all about indi- vidual stardom and glory. Sports is sup- posed to be about teamwork, pulling together, all the oars rowing in sync, no matter if the arm doing the rowing is heavily muscled or a little flabby, or if the skin on that arm is black, white, red or yellow. Maybe it's time for the parents who have their kids on the superstar track to skip high school sports and just let their children play for AAU teams, where the big concern is working on your dunks and your crossover and looking good for the college coaches, who rarely darken high school gyms anymore. Let's leave high school athletics for the kids and coaches who work hard, play together, develop team- work and other skills that will serve them well in life. • Congratulations to a number of Cumberland County baseball stars who have either signed college offers or will shortly. Heading the list is Terry Sanford's Christian Jayne, who will commit to East Carolina in a ceremony today in the media center at Terry Sanford. Jayne is enjoying an outstanding year as the quar- terback for Terry Sanford, but baseball is his first love. Last season he was 4-0 with a 1.21 earned run aver- age. He had 18 strikeouts in 17.1 innings. He was also one of the county's top hitters with a .373 average, leading the county in hits with 31. He had seven doubles, two homers and drove in 17 runs. A trio of Jack Britt players signed last Friday. Brennen Herbert chose Appalachian State, Nick Lee picked Wake Tech and Brendan Shea chose Peace. Herbert batted .337 with 29 hits and 25 RBIs. Lee was 3-4 as a pitcher with a 1.43 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 44 innings. Shea was 1-3 as a pitcher with a 4.33 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 21 innings. Sports is supposed to be about teamwork. Attention Students: Let Your Voice Be Heard Get published in our award-winning community newspaper Up & Coming Weekly Send in your feature articles, editorials, short stories, movie and music reviews or original poetry and artwork to: highschoolhighlights@upandcomingweekly.com Subject line: High School Highlights Please include your photo and school information.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Up & Coming Weekly - November 07, 2017