Schuckman: Using success to help determine classes is a mistake

Posted: Jun. 16, 2013 12:01 am Updated: Jul. 28, 2013 1:02 am

Jim Dunnan convinced the Illinois High School Association Board of Directors there is something worthwhile in his plan.

Convincing everyone else won't be as easy. Nor should it be.

Dunnan, who is superintendent of the Washington Community School district and principal of the high school, made a presentation at the IHSA's monthly board meeting proposing a success factor be added to the formula for figuring enrollment classifications. He was persuasive enough to get the IHSA to form a committee to study the proposal.

That's the first step needed to make it happen, but it's a treacherous road the IHSA and its members schools shouldn't want to take.

Success should not be penalized. It deserves to be applauded.

Clearly, not everyone agrees.

Dunnan wants to look at success over a three-year period, and based on a point system he has devised, teams that consistently reach state title games will be bumped up in class. Every three years, success of all programs would be reviewed, and only then will changes occur.

So, winning or playing for one state championship won't illicit a bump. Doing it two or three years in a row will.

Now, let's be clear on this. Dunnan isn't targeting one school, one program or one sport. His proposal calls for a review of all sports and all schools -- public and private.

It doesn't appear to be a knee-jerk reaction either. The proposal Dunnan gave the IHSA appears to be thorough except in one regard.

What about a team that has gone an extended period without winning a regional? Should such program drop in classification in order to assure it has success?

That's the most disconcerting part of this proposal.

It's the everyone-deserves-a-ribbon premise. Instead of motivating student-athletes to work hard and improve, administrators are teaching them to sidestep the challenge and seek the easy way out.

Coaches and administrators will tell you success helps build character and confidence.

Failure, though, reveals it.

It shows who is willing to dust themselves off, get back to work and be determined. That's a lesson that will pay off when these student-athletes become adults.

Dunnan's proposal won't do that.

Canton shooter among international elite

Garrett Spurgeon is going toe-to-toe with some of the world's best junior shooters and holding his own.

The Canton, Mo., native is currently in Pilsen, Czech Republic, for the 23rd Meeting of the Shooting Hopes, the annual junior-only match featuring up-and-coming talent from 25 countries. Spurgeon earned a bronze medal in the event's opening competition -- the men's prone rifle -- while the U.S. junior olympic team won the gold medal in the team event.

It's the continuation of an incredibly successful week.

Spurgeon, who will be a sophomore at West Virginia University, took part in the USA Shooting national championships in Fort Benning, Ga., winning a silver medal in the junior men's 10m air rifle competition with a score of 1,238.1. He also placed sixth in the overall men's division with a 1236.1 score.

Spurgeon won the junior men's 50m rifle 3 positions competition the week before.

All-star baseball game in place

The first Illinois vs. Missouri all-star baseball game will be played at 7 p.m. July 13 at Clemens Field in Hannibal, Mo. The event will feature the top senior players from Quincy, Hannibal and the surrounding areas.

Tickets are $6.50 per person and $5.50 for kids ages 3-12.

Each all-star game ticket also is good for entry into the Hannibal Cavemen game against the Springfield Sliders on July 15.

The Illinois all-stars will be coached by Quincy Notre Dame's Chris Martin, who has compiled a 141-51 record in seven seasons coaching the Raiders. Martin also is the manager of the Quincy Gems, leading them to the Prospect League championship in 2009 and 2011.

Monroe City's Mike Crager will coach the Missouri all-stars. An assistant football coach at Monroe City since 1987, Crager joined the baseball staff in 2004 and took over as head coach in 2010. He helped the Panthers win a district championship in 2012.

In case you missed it

Check out the McDonald's/Herald-Whig Classic page on our website -- -- to learn more about the players who participated. The Herald-Whig sports staff did video interviews with the all-stars, talking about their influences and their love of the game.

This week's poll

To vote in this week's online poll, log onto our website at Here is this week's question: Which trophy would you rather hoist? The Stanley Cup? The Lombardi Trophy? The World Series trophy? The Claret Jug? The FIFA World Cup?


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