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The Suburbanite
  • OHSAA proposes new way to classify schools

  • The Ohio High School Athletic Association’s proposal would count students on a team’s roster who are from outside that school’s district in football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball.

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  • There is a new competitive balance proposal in place pertaining only to team sports for Ohio high school principals to vote on in May.
    The former proposal — which included socio-economic issues, success, tradition and a possible separation between public and private schools — was cast aside Friday by its originators for one primarily focused on a school’s enrollment numbers and where its students reside.
    “This (proposal) is going to center on where your (district’s) kids come from and where they play,” said OHSAA Commissioner Dr. Dan Ross.
    That was what the originator of the
    previous proposal, Triway Local Schools Superintendent Dave Rice, wanted when his supporters sought change, primarily for football and basketball, in the system.
    “We would like to thank the OHSAA and the board for adopting an alternate proposal to competitive balance,” Rice said at Friday’s teleconference from the Schottenstein Center in Columbus. “Even when we were (espousing) the original proposal, we never stopped looking for an alternative.
    “We truly support the new proposal. We feel it is a much better option.”
    Rice and Dalton Local Schools Superintendent Scott Beatty spoke with Ross at both a live media event at the Schottenstein Center and the ensuing teleconference with statewide media.
    The crux of why both parties were excited was simple. Public, private and parochial schools will eventually be under the same set of rules, and scrutiny, if the proposal passes by a simple majority vote during the referendum voting set for May 1 through 15. Only student-athletes who attend a school but do not live in that school’s district boundaries will be counted against its enrollment.
    The proposal’s equalizer is a factoring system, not yet fully defined, that would add to a school’s eligibility numbers for each major team sport that could raise it to a higher division.
    Each OHSAA school will have its team rosters for students in grades 9 through 12 put on line. The OHSAA will have its own compliance monitors, but the information will be out there for all to scrutinize.
    “All schools will be treated the same,” Beatty said. “Exactly the same. People are wondering where these kids come from. Under this system, anyone can look at that.”
    Rice added, “The number of eyes on that system could be potentially hundreds of eyes.”
    Dr. Ross said the Ohio Department of Education’s Education Management Information System (EMIS) numbers still will be the “starting point” for schools’ enrollment on a bi-annual basis. However, schools will submit their roster data annually and divisional assignments will be done yearly, and not until after the school year has begun.
    Ross gave a fictitious Columbus Brookhaven boys basketball roster as an example of how factoring would be used to adjust for enrollment. He said basketball might have a factor of five, whereas football, with a larger roster, would factor at two.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Say Brookhaven has 10 freshman, 10 JV players and 10 varsity for 30 players (grades 9-12),” Ross said. “Of those, 20 are in the Brookhaven attendance area. Ten are from outside the area. Brookhaven’s EMIS number is 400, plus 50 for (the outsiders).
    “Whether that would move them up a division, we wouldn’t know until all the rosters in Ohio are turned in.”
    Ross said factoring and other points of the proposal still are being finalized. He said that if the proposal passes, there would be a 250-school pilot program set up for next school year. That would expand to a one-year trial for all schools in 2014, “and then go in effect in 2015.”
    PROPOSAL AT A GLANCE
    The basics of the new competitive balance proposal
    • School initial enrollment counts for males and females will continue to be the beginning point for placing schools into their respective tournament divisions.
    • Team rosters, indicating each student’s name, grade and district school of residence, will be submitted to the OHSAA through an online system.
    • Each roster member, whose district of residence is outside of the district or attendance zone of the school he or she is attending, will be multiplied by an out-of-district sports specific factor. That number will be added to the school’s initial enrollment count.
    • Public schools that do not accept open enrollment students would not be subject to an out-of-district sports specific factor. Tuition and international and exchange students would be subject to the factor.
    • The sports specific factor will be applied on a sport-by-sport basis in the team sports of football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball, with the wrestling team tournament also being considered.
    • The current sports specific factors being considered are two for football and five for sports with four divisions (basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball).
    • The initial enrollment counts submitted will be used for two years, but schools will submit their roster data annually, meaning adjusted enrollment numbers and divisional assignments in the team sports mentioned will be recalculated annually.
    • Schools that have an adjusted enrollment count that moves them into a higher division will not be limited to moving strictly into the next higher division.
    • Public and nonpublic schools that do not demonstrate a level of competitiveness in a given sport will not be subject to an out-of-district sports specific factor.
    • Rosters will be posted online to help ensure that a “check and balance” system is in place and accurate data has been entered into the system by each school.
    • Schools that fail to submit their roster data by the designated deadline in a particular sport will be subject to penalties as determined by the OHSAA.