How the NCHSAA has affected West Charlotte High School in a negative way

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West Charlotte High School
Photo Credit: Glen Byrd

The #3 seed West Charlotte Lions defeated the Olympic Trojans 78-75 in a thrilling game in the sweet sixteen of the NCHSAA playoffs while 6th seeded Ardrey Kell upset Independence, the defending state champions, on a game winning three pointer by Royce Jarret in the corner at the buzzer.

That shot has set up an unlikely showdown that was scheduled at West Charlotte High School this Tuesday night as WC was the higher seed and was supposed to have home court advantage.

That won’t be the case.

For a little background, West Charlotte High School is positioned in the inner city of Charlotte, North Carolina. Included is a gym with the capacity of 780 people where their basketball team plays. The team has fought all season to be able to host a game of this magnitude in their gym and they’ve more than earned it with their latest win.

Unfortunately, in our world today, earning it isn’t always enough.

The NCHSAA has a rule stating that if the gym capacity is not capable to fit the required expected capacity, the host school must find a location and pay for it out of pocket. While a historically black college down the street, Johnson C. Smith, seems like a good alternative location that can act as a home game for WC, they would have to pay for the location and officials. That is something they are not capable of doing at the moment.

Because of that, Ardrey Kell will be able to play this quarterfinals game on a neutral site rather than on the road. The new site’s basketball court has a capacity of 1300, significantly higher than the 780 that West Charlotte can host. But, let it be known that if they pull out the bleachers, that 780 can realistically reach up to 950 people, and maybe even 1000.

Former West Charlotte parent Mitzi Sims Porter took to Facebook, like many others, to explain her disdain for the lack of respect and the feeling of systematic oppression that everybody in the community felt was taken place.

Porter’s children Blake and Rachel both attended West Charlotte and played sports like herself. Porter told me how she felt about the situation overall.

“The NCHSAA invoked a rule that allows them to move a location. Specifically NCHSAA has a rule that states they have the right to require a game be moved to a facility able to accommodate the expected attendance. Since West Charlotte has limited seating in our gym, NCHSAA is invoking that rule. This puts West Charlotte at a disadvantage due to there gym size. Invoke means they did not have to do it and our kids are now on the short end of the stick. West Charlotte worked hard to gain that home court advantage and it has been taken away. Just learned that the team is practicing at Vance today. What I see is that the suburban school in the ritzy side of town now does not have to come to the intercity to play the game. The intercity kids lose out again. It’s unfair. Please call me at 1:30 if you need more.”

By definition systematic oppression is as follows; the mistreatment of people within a social identity group, supported and enforced by the society and its institutions, solely based on the person’s membership in the social identity group. … Institutionalized oppression is a matter of result regardless of intent.

According to school digger, Ardrey Kell High is ranked ninth out of 459 schools in the state with a five star rating while West Charlotte is ranked 415 with a one star rating. 98.4% of the students who attend West Charlotte are provided free or reduced Lunch while Ardrey Kell has 9.6% of their student’s receiving free or reduced lunch. The average median income in the west Charlotte area is $57,942 via point2homes with over 16,000 people living below the poverty line as opposed to the $135,947 median income in the Ballantyne area where AK is located.

Saying that these two schools are in different classes is an understatement. And it has to be understandable that the fact that the poorer school is simply not being rewarded with home court advantage is because of their lack of money, rather than their play on the court. The starting shooting guard for West Charlotte, Quinten Thomas was set back and upset by the result of the location of the game being changed.

“With the game being moved I feel as if the system is working against us. All season we have talked about working together to win and be at the top of our conference so we can have the chance to have home games. With all that being said in the beginning of the season, thats what we worked for and now that we earned the opportunity and it is being taken away from us is straight bulls@!&.”

West Charlotte is practicing at Vance High School today, the neutral site where they will be playing. They could fight and take a stand to defend what they are due, but it’s an uphill battle. Not only will this situation be remembered as a monumental moment in Charlotte Sports history, but it could also show that after all we’ve worked for, sometimes what you’ve earned can still be taken away. A sour taste and disdain has been placed in the mouths of West Charlotte faculty, staff, supporters, and players.

The only question left will be how will not only the community, but also West Charlotte respond when they step on the floor with Ardrey Kell at Vance High School as the home team…

When in reality, they truly won’t be home.

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