The postseason landscape has changed again for Ohio high school sports.

The postseason landscape has changed again for Ohio high school sports.

As part of a package of 14 referendum issues passed by OHSAA’s board of directors, the organization passed a new competitive balance measure. It’s designed to address perceived inequities in six sports among schools that accept a large number of transfers and open-enrollment students.

The six sports affected are: football, volleyball, soccer, basketball, baseball and softball. An amendment to Bylaw 2 of the OHSAA constitution, assigns schools to divisions based on each team’s adjusted enrollment count.

“The Additional Roster Count shall be calculated by adding to the Initial Roster Count the sum total of factors and the Sport Specific Factors which determine from where a student comes or from what system of education a student comes,” OHSAA said in a written release.

For public high schools, the factors used to determine a team’s division will range from Level 0 to Level 2. A Level 0 student is one whose parents reside within their district or its attendance zone. Level 1 students will be designated as those whose parents reside outside those same parameters, but the student has been continuously enrolled in the district since seventh grade. Level 2 students are those whose parents reside outside the district and who have not been continuously enrolled in the district since seventh grade.

For non-public high schools, the levels will remain the same, but students’ residency status will be based on whether or not they have attended a feeder school within their current district since seventh grade.

In both public and non-public schools, the number of athletes at each level will be calculated to determine their division. Level 0 students will have no multiplier effect, while Level 1 students will count by a multiplier of one toward their team’s initial roster count. The most significant area of impact will be Level 2 athletes, whose presence will be counted by the Level 2 sport-specific factor. For football, such players will be multiplied by two. Volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball (5) and soccer (6) will have even larger multiplier effects for transfer and open enrollment students.

Mogadore head football coach Matt Adorni, who has made the Division VI playoffs in each of his first 10 seasons, the new rules will have an impact because the Wildcats are one of several area teams with transfers on their roster. The Wildcats had eight players on their 2013 roster who would have been affected by the new rule. Two of the players who would have counted against the Wildcats' totals in 2013, juniors Eddie Pearce and Dominik Pizzino, played both football and basketball, with their transfers counting by a total factor of 10 for basketball season.

Adorni is keeping an eye on the new arrangement and sees potential stumbling blocks ahead based on the wording of the rule change.

"I'm not sure how i feel about competitive balance yet," Adorni said. "(We) have to see how it all plays out. It seems like there is going to be an awful lot of paperwork for athletic directors and I am not sure how the state will be able to make sure everyone is accountable."

The good news for resolving any potential issues, Adorni noted, is that the changes will be phased in over the next two years, giving the OHSAA time to figure out potential complications and find solutions before problems arise.

Reach Andy at 330-580-8396 or andy.harris@thesuburbanite.com.
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