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Easier not always better

A few weeks ago, Steve Coburn, the part owner of Califronia Chrome, spouted off during a post-Belmont Stakes interview that the horse-racing system was broken.

Coburn, who seems to place his heart on his sleeves as easily he does the cowboy hat on his head, thought it unfair that new horses could show up in the final stage of the Triple Crown and upset his horse's chance at history.

He had a point. He was entitled to it, but the response from the horse-racing community was that he was wrong.

As someone with only a mild interest in horse racing, I didn't think anything should change. The biggest reason that the chase for a Triple Crown draws attention from the nation each time a horse wins the first two legs is because it's very, very hard to win all three.

Coburn came to my mind this week as I read the series of stories done by our still relatively new staff member, Patrick Mason.

In completing his own sort of triple crown, Mason wrote about the delayed "success factor" being instituted by the IHSA, the additions and subtractions of schools to the Big Northern Conference and the re-arranging of the 15-team Three Rivers superconference.

There was also a news item on the West Suburban Conference working on a proposal to separate public and private schools during the postseason.

The subject of what is fair is at the heart of many of these stories.

Competition seeming to be fair is a reason schools like Dixon or Johnsburg feel like they should leave one conference for another.

There are other reasons like travel costs and increased game attendance, but the Big Northern Conference seems more fair for the Dukes and Duchesses than their former home in the NIB-12 West.

It's the same reason the Three Rivers – a league that expanded to 15 schools before the 2013-14 school year – will morph into East-West divisions for the upcoming year and then into a one-division conference in 2015-16.

It could also be the reason some schools look to find new homes in a couple years. Who knows?

What is fair has always been at the heart of the public vs. private debate.

It probably is a fair question.

But think about Coburn after the Belmont, and think about how much the Triple Crown means to people.

Think about how important state championships seem to kids and communities.

I don't know if separating public and private will maintain that feeling. It's already been somewhat hurt by increased classes.

I just feel like you could end up with a worse problem.

Winning a state title for some public schools might go from something dreamed about to something too easily obtained.

While the kids will still love it, will anyone else still care about it?

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