Education, Law & Principles

OCPA praises AG Drummond for shutting down school discrimination

March 23, 2023


OCPA praises AG Drummond for shutting down school discrimination

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 23, 2023)— Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs President Jonathan Small today praised Attorney General Gentner Drummond for his efforts to prevent illegal discrimination against private-school students in athletic competitions.

“Efforts to prevent private-school students from competing in state playoff events against public-school students were a transparent effort to discriminate against Oklahoma families who opt to send their children to private schools,” Small said. “Attorney General Drummond correctly pointed out that this discrimination is likely illegal, and thanks to his public efforts, the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association has abandoned this proposal.”

The OSSAA was prepared to vote on a proposal that would require member schools that are private schools to participate in a separate playoff bracket limited only to other private schools, segregating them from member schools that are public schools.

In a cease-and-desist letter sent to the OSSAA, Drummond warned that proposal would infringe upon the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and noted the OSSAA had already lost a 2007 case that centered on similar discrimination against a then-applicant private school that had been denied membership in OSSAA.

Drummond’s letter said the OSSAA’s playoff proposal is “completely disconnected from any conceivable state interest and not based in fact.”

The OSSAA tabled the proposal after receiving Drummond’s letter.

“Success on the athletic field should be a product of students’ hard work and perseverance, not adults’ efforts to change the rules to produce a specific outcome,” Small said. “Schools across Oklahoma, both public and private, have compiled records of athletic success, and students should not be denied the opportunity to compete.”

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs is a free-market think tank that works to advance principles and policies that support free enterprise, limited government, individual initiative and personal responsibility.