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MAIS’ name change makes an awful lot of sense

For years, one of the oddest things in high school sports was the name of the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools.

The association started in Mississippi and has the bulk of its membership here, but a number of small schools in Louisiana and Arkansas also joined over the years. Some schools in Alabama and Tennessee have even come and gone.

If you want to waste a few confusing minutes, try explaining to someone unfamiliar with the association why teams from Louisiana and Arkansas are playing for a Mississippi championship.

Apparently, those in charge of the MAIS agreed. In July, the association’ quietly changed its name to the Midsouth Association of Independent Schools.

MAIS director of activities Les Triplett said the switch made sense from both a logical and business standpoint. He said any future expansion will likely come by adding schools in the Memphis area, and changing the name was a recruitment tool.

“We finally decided that if we’re going to pick up more member schools, we’ve got what we’ve got in Mississippi. There are some outer schools in other associations that might be interested in joining us, but they’re not going to come play for the Mississippi championship,” Triplett said. “It gives us a footprint out there that we can increase. It also reflects who we are, really. We already have Arkansas and Louisiana, we just added Tennessee, and Alabama may be in the future.”

It’s the second name change in 12 years for the MAIS. In 2008 it changed from the Mississippi Private Schools Association to the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools. This one flew under the radar for months because, unlike in 2008, the “MAIS” acronym did not change.

“Because we stayed MAIS, a lot of people were like, ‘When did they do that?’” Triplett said. “Staying MAIS was a huge technology issue, because when you get into changing domain names it just changes everything. Staying MAIS kept that identity, but at the same time gave us an opportunity to go out and recruit.”

So there you have it. The Mississippi Association of Independent Schools, once known as the Mississippi Private Schools Association, is now the Midsouth Association of Independent Schools.

It’s not nearly as confusing as Louisiana vs. Arkansas for the Mississippi championship.
Now we just have to figure out one more thing — do those teams still win a “state championship” or a regional one?

Maybe that’s next year’s meeting.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at ernest.bowker@vicksburgpost.com

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured sports reporters in the paper's 137-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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