One hundred and 14 to zero.
Thatís the combined score of Shiloh Christian Schoolís last two high school football games. The Saints won 56-0 at Berryville on Sept. 27 and then posted a 58-0 home victory last Friday against Green Forest.
Both Berryville coach Doug Shott and Green Forest coach Bobby Bishop say this yearís Shiloh Christian team is exceptional even by Shilohís high standards. Thatís saying a lot for a program that boasts seven state championships in football.
Shilohís success is great, for Shiloh.
At some point, however, you have to wonder what effect it has on programs like Berryville and Green Forest. Thereís an old adage in sports that says you get better by facing good competition, but that only goes so far. I could play one-on-one all day (OK, letís be real, about 30 seconds) against Michael Jordan, but that wonít make me a better basketball player. It wonít do anything but leave me demoralized and perhaps even injured. You have to wonder if there are kids who would like to play football for Berryville or Green Forest but are turned off by the idea of having to play against Shiloh.
Itís not just Shiloh weíre talking about, either, and not just football. Private schools have been disproportionately successful in Arkansas high school athletics for years ó schools like Pulaski Academy, Central Arkansas Christian, Harding Academy, Little Rock Christian and so on. At some point, there has to be an explanation for whatís going on.
Shiloh Christian isnít cheap. The schoolís website lists tuition for secondary students at $9,280 a year. Only a small percentage of students and their families can afford that kind of tuition. Itís amazing how the Saints are able to be so successful year in and year out when their pool of talent has to be limited by that hefty price tag. Then again, maybe Shiloh just happened to catch the eye of several Division I recruits for whom money was no object. Right?
Itís past time for the Arkansas Activities Association to take a long, hard look at whatís going on with private schools and come up with a plan that creates a level playing field for everyone.