Davidson Days Will Grier may have passed for more yardage than any other high school quarterback ever Friday night, but his performance may not be recognized as the record by the National High School Sports Record Book.
Grier completed 35 of 42 passes for 837 yards and 10 touchdowns, according to Davidson Day statistics, in a 104-80 N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association football playoff victory over Harrells Christian.
The recognized national record is 764 yards by Pacific Palisades David Koral against Van Nuys Grant in 2000, and the state record is 667 yards by Wakefields Connor Mitch against Broughton this year.
But surpassing a record and having it recognized are two different things.
The National High School Sports Record Book is maintained by the National Federation of State High School Associations. The federation is the national group for state associations like the N.C. High School Athletic Association.
Davidson Day, which is located in Davidson, is a member of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association. According to NCISAA figures, the school had a 2011-12 enrollment of 120 students in ninth through 12th grades and 70 students in seventh through eighth grades.
The national record book can include performances by athletes at schools that are not affiliated with the federation, but the state association that is a member, in this case the NCHSAA, must approve the record first.
John Gillis, the editor of the book, said the NCHSAA is not expected to approve Griers performance.
The reason why requires some history.
A level field
Rick Strunk, an associate commissioner of the NCHSAA, and I were the co-authors of the first North Carolina high school record book in 1989.
The original intent was to track down the greatest performances ever by high school athletes in the state, but eventually it became apparent that maintaining a level playing field would be difficult.
One of the first examples was a boys basketball player who reportedly scored 100 points in a game. It turned out to be in what amounted to a recreation league although the team called itself the high school team.
That incident was the first of a plethora of questions that have emerged throughout the years.
Recently the question arose if a state high school record could be set against a home-school team.
Would it be fair to allow a player at an NCISAA school, where players can participate on a varsity team for seven years, to set a career scoring record even though NCHSAA players can play only four? What about an NCHSAA player who participates for four years and transfers to a private school for a fifth? Should he be eligible to set a state record?
And in general, what do you do with fifth-year players and players who are ineligible to play at NCHSAA schools but are eligible by NCISAA standards?
If John Wall had scored 75 points in a basketball during his final season at Word of God, should that be the state record even though he was in his fifth year of high school. If he had not transferred from Broughton, he would have already graduated.
Several North Carolina high school basketball players have scored more than the recognized high school record of 67 points by Bob Poole of Clayton in 1950. Most times the points came by a player who transferred to a small school in North Carolina from out of state and the points came against a badly out-manned team.
None of those potential records has been accepted by the North Carolina High School Record book.
It is harder and harder to maintain a level playing field, Gillis said. Everyone wants the record book to treat everyone fairly, but there are some tough decisions.
Griers performance probably will be recognized by other groups that maintain records. There are dozens of examples of high school performances that are not recognized as official, including most of the states high school swimming and track and field records. The NCHSAA recognizes only swimming and track records set in their championships, but other organizations accept performances in various settings.
Griers performance last week was incredible and memorable. Perhaps it is time for the NCISAA to start its own record book.
I doubt Griers 834 yards will make it into the state or national record books.