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The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)
Ohio High School Athletic Association commissioner Dan Ross unveiled a slightly revised competitive balance proposal Tuesday that he hopes will finally be amenable to public and nonpublic schools alike.
The latest plan, drawn up by Ross and his 27-member competitive balance committee, was unanimously approved by the OHSAA Board of Directors and will be placed on the May referendum for school principals and athletic administrators to consider. A similar proposal was defeated by a 327-308 vote a year ago.
"I absolutely believe that this is a better proposal than the one we introduced a year ago and in previous years," Ross said. "To a man, our panel felt this was the fairest and most-balanced plan, and the board felt the same way. Our surveys following last year's proposal offered a lot of constructive feedback and ideas on how we can make it pass this time around."
The changes center on a sport-by-sport formula devised to place teams in divisions according to where their players reside. The formula applies each school's state-issued enrollment figure and takes into account the players on each roster, specifically which ones do and do not live within that designated attendance zone. The formula is the same for public and private schools, regardless of the district's size.
A significant concession Ross' panel made this time around regarded private and parochial student-athletes. The new plan would allow each school to designate a preferred parish or feeder school from which it primarily draws. Players who have attended those schools since seventh grade -- even if technically outside the designated attendance zone -- would not be counted against schools, according to the formula.
Students from outside the designated parish or feeder school would be assigned a specific modifier, and those from outside the district would count roughly five times greater. The same formula applies to all schools, even those in large, multiple-school districts such as Columbus.
Ross used Grandview's girls volleyball team and DeSales' baseball team among his examples.
Hypothetically, Grandview's team would begin with a state-assigned number of 150 girls from grades 9-11 the previous school year. Of its 20 players, 10 living in the Grandview district would count as zero. Ten not living in the district but having been enrolled in the district since seventh grade would count as one each. Five others enrolling as freshman via open enrollment would receive a multiplier of five each. Hence, Grandview's sport-specific enrollment would be altered to 185. The OHSAA uses these numbers to determine divisions for tournaments.
Using the same criteria, DeSales' enrollment would be adjusted from 350 to 365 because of five players outside its designated feeder school and two others outside the public-school attendance zone (Brookhaven).
The formula multipliers vary by anticipated participation numbers in each sport. If passed, the formula would be used in football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball effective in the 2016-17 school year. That would give the OHSAA ample time to implement a pilot program and make necessary tweaks.
A group of superintendents in Wayne County seeking separate tournaments for public and private schools failed to gather enough signatures on a petition for it to be included on the May referendum. Ross hopes his continuing efforts regarding competitive balance will quell attempts at separation.