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Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

OHSAA to offer new competitive balance proposal

By Gary R. Rasberry
The Ohio High School Athletic Association will again put a competitive balance proposal on its May referendum ballot, the organization announced Tuesday.
The Competitive Balance Committee's proposal was unanimously approved by the OHSAA Board of Directors.
The new proposal is similar to the one that was voted down by a small margin by member schools last year.
"I believe that the people who left after the vote possibly believe that this is the best proposal that we've had," said OHSAA Commissioner Dr. Dan Ross during a teleconference. "It's probably the fairest in their eyes. I don't think there was a non-public (school) person there who walked out of the room who thought there was an issue with this proposal."
The student enrollment figures released by the Ohio Department of Education will be used as a base number. Rosters from the team sports will be used to adjust the base number on a per-sport basis by dividing players into three categories.  
• Players on a roster (grades 9-12) whose parents or guardians live in the school district (or attendance zone if the school district has multiple high schools) will not count extra towards the OHSAA enrollment figures.
• New to this year's proposal is making allowances for students whose parents do not live in the school district, but the student has been enrolled in the school system before entering high school. That player would count as one extra towards the enrollment.
• Students from outside the district that enroll during high school would be counted as a Sports Specific Factor in addition to the base number.
"Each sport will have a factor attached to it," said Ross. "Football is two. All of our four-division sports are (factored by) five, which means boys and girls basketball, softball, baseball and volleyball. Soccer is a three-division sport, so it will be six."
For example, a school with an actual enrollment of 300 has a basketball roster of 30 players (grades 9-12). Twenty players are from the district and will not count extra, six were from outside the district but enrolled during junior high, counting each as a additional student to the base number, and four enrolled in high school with each player counting as five, making the OHSAA's enrollment figure of 326.
A new component to the proposal would allow non-public schools to choose the attendance zone where their parish or feeder school is located rather than where their high school campus was located. Dr. Ross pointed out Lima Central Catholic as an example. LCC's campus is located in the Shawnee school district, but main parish feeder schools are located in the Lima City Schools district. Athletes who attended the feeder schools in the declared zone would not count extra. Players not from the attendance zone but went to the feeder schools since junior high would count as one extra. Athletes who started attending LCC in high school would count as the Sports Specific Factor.
"Honestly, it came to our attention because we were hurrying so much in the spring because the petition to separate (splitting championship tournaments between public and non-public schools) wasn't dropped until the state boys basketball tournament," said Ross. "We had little time to walk through those issues (last year). When those come up afterwards, we realized it wasn't fair to that system, that school and those kids, so we need to tweak. (The proposal) came through our feedback from the member schools."
Removed from this year's proposal is a provision that allowed teams that do not have a strong tradition in a sport not to have their numbers adjusted.
Last year, schools were concerned about the timing of when the divisional numbers would be released. If the current proposal passes, the roster numbers from the previous season would be used to calculate the divisional numbers for the two-year period.
High School principals at the OHSAA's 825 member schools will vote on this and other proposals during the annual referendum between May 1 and May 15. If passed, the procedures will begin for the 2016-17 school year.
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