Brian Clyne never expected to walk away from a meeting with the Kansas State High School Activities Assn. a full-fledged member of the KSHSAA.
But he got the next best thing.
Clyne, athletics director of Lawrence's Seabury Academy, came away from his meeting Thursday with the KSHSAA's executive board with rubber-stamp approval for the Seahawks' application for entry into the state's primary high school governing body on Thursday.
"What I expected was, they were going to listen to us, give us some information, then say, 'Thank you, we'll let you know," Clyne said. "I expected later on we'd get a letter saying either, 'We'll accept your application,' or, 'Here are some things we'd like to have some information on.' I didn't expect to be sitting there and hear, 'I'd like to make a motion.'
"I've been working on this for a number of years. When it got to that point, I was like, 'Wow, I'm going to leave here today with an answer.'"
Because of the answer, Seabury will apply for entry during the summer the Seahawks already have been approved, so the application is merely a formality and will compete as a KSHSAA Class 1A school beginning next fall.
"I don't hesitate to say this is a step toward recognition," Clyne said. "I think credibility enters into it. I wouldn't send my two daughters to a school that wasn't accredited by some institution. I want to know a school has some guidelines they're following, some standard, and that's what KSHSAA is, a standard. The people in the KSHSAA are all playing on a level playing field."
Seabury a small, fifth-year private school located between Lawrence and Eudora in the old Kaw Valley School has been an "approved" school by the KSHSAA for years, but Clyne wanted to become a full member.
The Seahawks have competed in tournaments sanctioned by the Kansas Christian Assn., but starting next fall will be eligible to compete in KSHSAA-sanctioned postseason events.
"I already started scheduling (Friday) with the idea of scheduling as many 1 and 2A schools as I can," Clyne said. "We'll continue to keep ties to some schools that are smaller, maybe not full KSHSAA members, but we're looking inside a 90-mile radius, in Kansas and Missouri, for schools that could provide that measuring stick, to see how we measure up.
"I really, truly, honestly believe we have a couple of teams that can compete in regionals. We have a lot of sports, realistically, that are a ways away, but this is Step One."
Seabury made its first pitch to the KSHSAA in November, and the body asked to make a visit to the school to tour the facilities. The KSHSAA also asked for more information about accreditation and financial aid.
"Obviously, we're not considering our gym as a site to play home volleyball or basketball," Cylne said. "We hope to be playing our home volleyball and basketball in a new facility in Alvamar, but if we have to, we'll play on the road."
Seabury is looking to move its campus to the Alvamar Racquet and Swim Club facility and is raising funds to that end.
"We're all optimistic it's going to go, and I'm going into it from an athletics standpoint that we'll move there," Clyne said. "I can't schedule any home games there yet, but I'm keeping some dates open in the schedule so we can."
Associate sports editor Andrew Hartsock can be reached at 832-7216.