Three schools join MAIS

Media Contact: Maureen Smith
Director of Communications, Diocese of Jackson
(601) 969-3581 — maureen.smith@jacksondiocese.org

Since the announcement that our out-of-state students would no longer be eligible to participate in the Mississippi High School Activities Association competition, the diocesan and school leaders have focused on what steps should be taken that would be in the best interest of the students and families we serve.  At the request of Bishop Joseph Kopacz each of our Catholic schools located along the Mississippi river – NatchezCathedral. Greenville-St. Joseph, Natchez-Cathedral, Vicksburg-St. Aloysius — met with school stakeholders to review the impact of the recent MHSAA decision on our out-of-state students and their families. 

In order to have a clear understanding of the options, school administration had preliminary conversations with the leadership of the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS).  MAIS leadership expressed interest in having our schools join their association, and indicated that they would work with our school leadership to make the transition based on what is best for students. In an effort to be pro-active, the MAIS executive committee considered the possibility of having our schools join their organization and determined that they would accept applications from our schools.  After thorough consideration of the issues and options, each school submitted a request to the superintendent and the bishop to be granted permission to join MAIS.  The minutes of the meetings of each school community were reviewed and the merits each request were considered.  Bishop Kopacz has approved each request to join MAIS, and effective immediately, Greenville St. Joseph Catholic School, Vicksburg Catholic School, and Cathedral School will apply for membership in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools. 

The students and families of St. Joseph Catholic School in Madison are not impacted by the exclusion of out-of-state students and will remain as members of Mississippi High School Activities Association at this time.  Consideration of what is best for their students will guide any decisions going forward.

We appreciate the welcome that MAIS leadership has extended to our schools and their openness to develop a transition plan that will meet the needs of all the students served by our schools.  We look forward to the opening of the 2015-16 school year and the opportunity for all of our students to participate fully in our academic program and extra-curricular activities.

Diocese of Jackson response to Mississippi High School Activities Association ruling

Media Contact: Maureen Smith
Director of Communications, Diocese of Jackson
(601) 969-3581 — maureen.smith@jacksondiocese.org

The decision of MHSAA to begin enforcing its out-of-state student and 20 mile radius rules will have an immediate impact of prohibiting out-of-state and other commuter students who up until recently have been allowed to participate in MHSAA events without objection. The decision by MHSAA to invoke immediate enforcement is particularly problematic for those students that have been members of our schools since their elementary school years.  We are very disappointed in the MHSAA’s decision and the effect it will have on our student athletes.
This is particularly difficult for students  (and their families) that have been members of our school community since elementary school and are now faced with the possibility of being denied the opportunity to participate in athletics and extracurricular activities.
These hard-working student athletes deserve an opportunity to play at the appropriate competitive level at the school of their choice. The schools and the diocese will continue to advocate on behalf of our student athletes.  The schools, their stakeholders and diocesan leadership are reviewing their next steps and will decide what they will do with regards to membership in an activities association based upon what is best for their student body and the school.”