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HUNTINGTON — A proposal that would have allowed private middle schools to compete in Cabell County middle school athletic championship events was voted down by the Board of Education earlier this week.

Two options were presented to the board for voting: one to allow private middle schools the opportunity to participate in championship games, the other to exclude them from such events.

The former would have permitted St. Joe, Our Lady of Fatima, Grace Christian, Covenant Christian and Mountain State Christian to compete with the four public middle schools — Huntington, Huntington East, Milton and Barboursville — in championship games for basketball, cheerleading, tennis, track, cross country, golf, football, volleyball and wrestling.

Superintendent Ryan Saxe said over the past couple of years there have been specific requests made by county residents to accommodate various athletic events to include private schools more.

“Because there is this potential for these requests to continue coming up and other schools jumping on board, we really needed to look at what metrics would allow non-public schools to participate,” Saxe said.

Those qualifications included West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission (WVSSAC) membership, fees to cover shared costs of awards, officials, security and supplies for events, and the teams would have been required to participate in regular-season contests with public school teams in order to determine ranking.

However, because the proposal was voted down by board members, private school athletic teams will continue to be excluded from county championship events and such events will be renamed “Cabell County Public School Championship.”

“The whole reason we have the county championships is four our public schools. As opposed to continuing to kick the can down the road, it was time to bring it up for a vote and to find out what the board’s desire was,” Saxe added.

Private school athletic teams will still be permitted to compete in regular-season games with public schools and no fees are required with the adopted proposal, which passed by unanimous vote.

Luke Creasy is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook @HDcreasy or reach him by phone at 304-526-2800.

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