Motions put forward at the upcoming annual general meeting of B.C.'s senior boys high school basketball coaches appear to take direct aim at a championship Vancouver private school and its legal arsenal.
Coaches at Saturday's meeting in Langley will debate various proposed changes including an adjustment to the shot clock, withholding the introduction of a "charge circle" to the B.C. game and creating a AAAA bracket for the province's most heavily populated schools.
But three other changes are much more contentious and offer a clue to the animosity and discord among the Lower Mainland's public and private high school coaches. One motion would prevent member schools from taking legal action against the B.C. High School Boys Basketball Association.
The resolution, forwarded by Richmond coach Paul Eberhardt and seconded by Churchill secondary's Rick Lopez, states: "A school which is a member of the Association who formally threatens in writing to take legal action against the Association may be expelled by a majority vote of the directors of the association or through a special resolution passed at any general meeting of the Association."
Lawyers for St. George's private school famously sent the Lower Mainland and B.C. executives a letter last month threatening legal action after the school was denied direct entry into the Lower Mainland championship. For two consecutive years, St. George's has appealed to the Lower Mainland zone executive-of which Eberhardt is a member-to compete in the zone tournament on the grounds it is one of the top teams in B.C.
In 2011, the zone executive accepted the appeal and created a back-door play-in. This year, St. George's request was denied and the decision upheld by the B.C. executive. However the board of governors for the B.C. High School Boys Basketball Association overturned the decision and ruled St. George's could compete.
But St. George's argued the play-in from the previous year was unfair and threatened to sue the association if it wasn't granted direct entry to the zone tournament. St. George's was seeded directly into the tournament, which it won.
A second resolution, which is under the unusual scrutiny of B.C. School Sports and is pending review, seeks to separate the city's two AAA independent schools, St. George's and Vancouver College, from the AAA Lower Mainland zone by creating a distinct "Zone A" and "Zone B." Eight zones in the province are regionally determined and include both public and private schools.
At the city level, Vancouver's public and independent schools compete in separate leagues in most sports including girls and boys basketball. Except for exhibition tournaments, basketball teams don't meet through the regular season until the Lower Mainland zone tournament. The motion was put forth by Eberhardt, who formerly headed programs in Vancouver and at Capilano College. Kitsilano coach Randy Coutts seconded the resolution.
Each proposed zone A and B would directly qualify for provincials. Since regional berthing for the B.C. tournament is determined by population, the two-school St. George's and Vancouver College zone would qualify one team to provincials.
A third divisive motion is up for discussion regarding a berthing rule that came into effect in the mid-2000s. In one season, two North Shore schools were overwhelmingly agreed to be No. 1 and No. 2 in B.C. but they both competed in the same city league that allowed only one seat to their zone tournament. The new rule allowed the schools to appeal to their zone executives for admission to the regional tournament, which doubles as the provincial tournament qualifier.
Now, a proposed rule change would bypass the zone executive so the appeal would first be heard by executives at the provincial level. The motion is also put forth by Eberhardt and seconded by Coutts and includes this rationale: "Unfortunately this clause is now being used for other agendas and it has opened the door for the potential to allow any teams into both zone and provincial tournaments."
The AGM is scheduled for March 17 at the Langley Events Centre.