OHSAA Board of Directors rejects proposal for Division I football realignment

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The Ohio High School Athletic Association

The Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Directors voted Thursday to reject a proposal from an OHSAA subcommittee to divide in half the number of Division I football schools into two equal divisions. Had the proposal been approved, a seventh division in football would have been created.


COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Directors voted Thursday to reject a proposal from an OHSAA subcommittee to divide in half the number of Division I football schools into two equal divisions. Had the proposal been approved, a seventh division in football would have been created.

The unanimous 8-0 vote came during the Board’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting at the OHSAA office in Columbus. The proposal, which came as the result of a two-year study by the subcommittee, also would have limited the number of tournament qualifiers from each region of the two big-school divisions to four, rather than eight qualifiers which come from all other regions, thus keeping the overall number of tournament qualifiers the same (192).

“The Board reviewed survey results from Ohio’s Division I schools, and the majority of those that responded were not in favor of making a change,” said Mike Richards, OHSAA Board of Directors president and superintendent at Allen East Local Schools in Harrod. “The facts that the officers of the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association were unanimous in not favoring a change and that the recommendation from the subcommittee that made the proposal was not unanimous were also factored in.”

The chief issue the subcommittee attempted to address is the large variance in enrollment that occurs in Division I, where the smallest school currently has 528 boys and the largest has 1,246. The proposed divisional change would have meant that the two big school divisions would be comprised of schools with more similar enrollments. Since the proposal would have been a change to the Associations’ Sports Regulations and not OHSAA Bylaws, the Board of Directors could act solely on the recommendation without a vote from the member schools.

“While it is clear that there is a large variance in enrollment numbers within Division I, the officers of the state coaches association were unanimously against this proposal and felt like any change would not have enhanced the current playoff system,” said Jay Niswonger, president of the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association and head coach at Germantown Valley View High School. “In fact, we are of the opinion that Ohio’s playoff format is one of the best in the nation and we continually hear that from those outside the state, so our position is not to make a change if there is not a problem, or not to fix something if it’s not broken.”

The OHSAA obtained input from the schools that are currently in Division I to gauge the proposed change. The subcommittee that proposed the change to the OHSAA Board was comprised of superintendents, principals, athletic administrators and coaches from across the state along with OHSAA administrators.

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