The third time was NOT the charm. On the heels of similar referendum issues defeated in 1978 and 1993, OHSAA member schools voted to defeat a “Competitive Balance Proposal” created by the OHSAA. Public vs Private debates will continue – and so will Ohio’s current postseason format. LEARN MORE
The third time was NOT the charm. On the heels of similar referendum issues defeated in 1978 and 1993, OHSAA member schools voted to defeat a “Competitive Balance Proposal” created by the OHSAA. Public vs Private debates will continue – and so will Ohio’s current postseason format.
In a press release from the OHSAA today, member schools voted 332-303 not to pass the OHSAA’s latest CBP. In 1978 a proposal lost 83.9-16.1 percent. In 1993 the vote was 66.8-33.2.
The outcome does not come as a shock. The small margin of defeat – and how many schools simply decided to let someone else decide their fate (183 districts did not return ballots) – however does. In a pool of 50-plus administrators and coaches we polled, exactly ZERO said their school voted for it. Most disliked the Tradition Factor and several showed displeasure at the Socioeconomic Factor. Others didn’t like the OHSAA’s “blank check” philosophy in regards to future percentage changes without a member vote.
Regardless, the CBP has been put to bed for now.
We will have more thoughts/news on this in tomorrow’s latest Ohio HS Insider.
OFFICIAL OHSAA PRESS RELEASE
Membership Approves 14 of 15 Referendum Issues
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Fourteen of the 15 proposed Ohio High School Athletic Association Constitution and Bylaw revisions passed as voted upon by OHSAA member schools, Commissioner Daniel B. Ross, Ph.D., has announced. Changes were approved to three Constitution items and 11 Bylaw items.
The bylaw issue that did not pass was a proposal to change how schools are assigned to tournament divisions in the team sports of football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball. Rather than place schools into OHSAA tournament divisions based strictly on male or female enrollment, a recommendation to develop a sport-by-sport athletic count would have begun with enrollment and then potentially added enrollment based on how schools secure students (boundary factor) and a four-year tradition of success factor, while schools could have potentially lost enrollment based on a socioeconomic factor (high school students involved in the free lunch program). The proposed bylaw on this issue to address competitive balance in OHSAA tournaments failed 332 to 303 (52 percent to 48 percent).
“As most of our school administrators and coaches are aware, this change was recommended by an OHSAA Competitive Balance Committee, and we believe this would have been a fairer way to assign schools in team sports to their tournament divisions,” Ross said. “We also stressed to the membership that this was just a starting point for change since a companion OHSAA Sports Regulation would have allowed the Board of Directors to make modifications over time as a standing committee on competitive balance made recommendations.
“Our Board of Directors will have to provide direction on whether to reconvene the OHSAA Competitive Balance Committee to review other ‘competitive balance’ options, so I cannot speculate on whether or not that possibility exists. At the same time, we’re also hearing that discussions to file a petition may be taking place by some member schools that are seeking to separate our tournaments totally between public schools and non-public schools. Again, whether that occurs or not, it’s too early to tell.”
In order for the latter scenario to take place, a petition must be signed by 75 principals, including a minimum of five principals within each of the six OHSAA athletic districts, and submitted to the OHSAA office between August 1 and December 1. Voting on an issue would take place during the first two weeks of May 2012. Two such issues to separate the tournaments failed overwhelmingly in both 1978 (83.9 percent to 16.1 percent, or 637 to 122) and 1993 (66.8 percent to 32.3 percent, or 482 to 240).
All 15 proposals in 2011 were placed up for referendum vote by the OHSAA Board. High school principals had between May 1 and 16 to cast their votes, and a simple majority is all that is required for a proposed amendment to be adopted. The referendum issues that passed become effective August 1 unless noted.
The complete final voting results are available on the OHSAA web site (www.ohsaa.org), and the 2011-12 Constitution and Bylaws will be posted on the site sometime in late June or early July.
A Review of the 2011 OHSAA Referendum Issues
827 ballots were mailed, 644 ballots were returned (77.9 percent)
Constitution Article 3, Section 1, Continuing Membership — Adds a statement to clarify that when a new school opens within a multi-school district, the school’s Board of Education or similar governing body may add that school to its membership card. 633 in favor; 4 opposed
Constitution Article 3, Section 4, Continuing Membership — Adds an exception that permits those schools that are isolated geographically or are single gender schools to continue membership even though the schools do not sponsor two sports per season. 586 in favor; 51 opposed
Constitution Item 7, Article 6, Section 2, Vacancy on a District Athletic Board — Adds a statement that action by the Board of Directors to appoint an interim representative on a district athletic board when a vacancy occurs for reasons other than expiration of a term shall occur at the next meeting of the Board of Directors. 624 in favor; 11 opposed
Bylaw 2-1-4, Classification and Organization — Adds a bylaw that says “Each school shall be placed into tournament divisions based on its sport-by-sport athletic count. The formula for determining athletic counts and to which sports the counts shall be applied will be determined by the Board of Directors and approved on a biennial basis. The formula for athletic counts and the sports to which they are applied for the current school year are listed in the General Sports Regulations — Tournaments.” In Bylaw 2-1-1, the phrase “and representation to tournaments” would be eliminated since that regulation would be covered in new Bylaw 2-1-4. Effective no later than August 1, 2013. 332 opposed; 303 in favor
Bylaw 3-1-4, Administrative Responsibility and Institutional Control — Adds “Institutional Control” to the heading to emphasize the notion that administrators have a responsibility to assert control over all aspects of their school’s athletics program; revises the bylaw to provide more flexibility for school administrators to conduct the mandatory preseason meetings more than two weeks prior to the beginning of each sports season but not later than two weeks after the season begins, and notes that the preseason meetings shall include a review of issues concerning concussions and steroids. Effective June 1, 2011.571 in favor; 66 opposed
Bylaw 3-6-1, Administrative Responsibility and Institutional Control — Adds “whistleblower protection” to those individuals who provide information in connection to any OHSAA investigation. Any retaliation or threat of retaliation shall be regarded as a major violation and a school will be subject to the penalties outlined in Bylaw 11, which could include suspension of membership. Effective June 1, 2011. 610 in favor; 25 opposed
Bylaw 4-1-2, Student Eligibility — Adds a statement that says that the same penalty should be applied for an attempt to establish eligibility due to deceptive practices as is required when eligibility has indeed been established via falsified means. 626 in favor; 9 opposed
Bylaw 4-1-3, Student Eligibility — Clarifies that the status of a student as a member of a school squad continues until the start of the next school season in that sport. This is necessary to support the sports regulation that determines how many students from the same school squad may participate together on a non-interscholastic squad. 576 in favor; 52 opposed
Bylaw 4-3-4, Enrollment and Attendance — Adds a note that a student who does not attend school due to truancy should not be rewarded by regaining eligibility for the semester or semesters of eligibility that the student remained out of school. 627 in favor; 14 opposed
Bylaw 4-6-1 and Bylaw 4-7-2, Exception 1, Residence and Transfers — Amends the one-year period of residency, as it relates to the decision relative to the transfer, to coincide with the submission of the Affidavit of Bona Fide Residence. The amendment is proposed because it is unreasonable to expect school officials and/or the OHSAA office to affirm residence retrospectively for the months prior to the affiant’s submission of the Affidavit of Bona Fide Residence. The amendment also clarifies the circumstances upon which the OHSAA will approve such transfers. In addition, the revision would also authorize rescinding eligibility if the OHSAA determines any falsification during the one-year period. Effective June 1, 2011. 578 in favor; 57 opposed
Bylaw 4-7-2, Exception 2, Transfers — Adds the phrase that the student must live with the new custodian “for a minimum of one year” to reinforce this notion when the change results in a change of school districts. Also adds a clause that gives the OHSAA office some discretion when a change of custody takes place after the transfer or when it is clear that the custody change is being sought to circumvent the transfer bylaw. The addition strengthens the exception and will hopefully stop individuals from using the courts to gain an athletic advantage. Also, modifies that in a case where a student is a ward of a government agency and is placed in foster care or a group home, at such time that the student is released back into the custody of his or her parents or original custodians, the student may have the choice to remain in the school where eligibility was established under this exception or be declared eligible at the school where the parents and/or new custodians reside. Effective June 1, 2011. 573 in favor; 60 opposed
Bylaw 4-7-2, Exception 6, Transfers — Strikes the text that was prescribed in a previous referendum vote that refers to the 2010-11 school year. Also provides a reminder that this exception cannot be used for any intra-district or system transfers. Such transfers are authorized only in accordance with Bylaws 4-7-4, 4-7-6 and 4-7-7. 595 in favor; 38 opposed
Bylaw 4-8-1, International and Exchange Students — Amends and clarifies the definition of an “international student” by stating that such student is not a U.S. citizen and is in Ohio for the purpose of attending school at an Ohio member high school. 611 in favor; 21 opposed
Bylaw 4-9, Recruiting — Provides clarity as to what contact coaches can and cannot make with prospective 7th- and 8th-grade students. Also adds new language to provide a school penalty whereby a school that employs a coach that has been found to have violated the recruiting bylaws would be prohibited from OHSAA tournament competition for a minimum of one year. Also adds language that describes what can be done to mass market a school’s programs to a general population; replaces the word ‘transfer’ with the concept of ‘enrollment’ and does permit coaches to talk with parents and prospective students via approved activities consistent with Bylaw 4-9-3. 577 in favor; 55 opposed
Bylaw 10-1-1, Protests and Forfeitures — Revises the bylaw by removing the notion that no requests will be considered concerning the eligibility of a player on a competing team which are filed more than 42 days following the last day of the state championship in that sport. Therefore, this would eliminate any restrictions on when requests for investigations may take place. 540 in favor; 86 opposed
THE HUDDLE’S CBP SERIES
OHSAA’S GUIDE TO THE CBP
(Published by the Ohio High School Athletic Association 1/21/2011)
Why Competitive Balance Was Addressed
A concern about competitive balance in Ohio High School Athletic
Association tournaments was raised by a group of school administrators
in northeast Ohio, and a study showed that 43 percent (146 of 340) of
the state championships in selected team sports between 1999 and 2010
were won by non‐public schools, even though non‐public schools make up
only 17 percent of the total membership of the OHSAA.
Ohio History on Competitive Balance
Competitive balance is neither unique nor new to Ohio. In fact, there
were referendum issues to separate the tournaments between public and
non‐public schools brought before the OHSAA membership by school
administrators in both 1978 and 1993, and both were defeated (83.9
percent to 16.1 percent in 1978; 66.8 percent to 33.2 percent in 1993).
In addition, a committee was formed to discuss competitive balance
during the 2006‐07 school year and no recommendations were made since a
consensus could not be reached.
While there is a concern across the state from Ohio’s public school
coaches and administrators that the current system may not be as fair as
they would like, coming forward with a recommendation to improve the
system has proven challenging to say the least. While a better solution
seems elusive, what does seem to be fairly universal is the comment
heard from most coaches and administrators that “in order to be the
best, we want to compete against the best.” Still others believe
separate tournaments are the only way to go, and some have even
suggested that an enrollment multiplier be used for nonpublic schools.
The Competitive Balance Committee and its Charge
The OHSAA Competitive Balance Committee was formed in January 2010. It
was comprised of 29 school administrators and coaches from across the
state from public and non‐public schools both large and small along with
members of the OHSAA Board of Directors and administrative staff and
representatives from both the state superintendents’ and state
The Competitive Balance Committee’s charge was to attempt to identify
what factors account for the disproportionate number of championships
being won by an equally disproportionately smaller group of member
schools, and what the OHSAA could do to balance out these factors for
all member schools.
This meant that the criteria chosen for a new plan must:
• Move toward a more competitive balance in all chosen sports;
• Maximize sustainability;
• Minimize complexity as much as possible;
• Maximize support from both the OHSAA membership and all interested
The committee’s recommendation is that all member schools of the OHSAA
pass through the same “filter.” This means that school enrollment will
continue to be the beginning basis for placing schools into their
respective tournament divisions. Once that data is received, schools
will be placed into their respective tournament divisions based on their
sport‐by‐sport “athletic counts.” Three factors will be used to
determine “athletic counts” for each school:
• School Boundary Factor (how students are obtained);
• Socioeconomic Factor, and
• Tradition Factor.
School Boundary Factor
The Competitive Balance Committee identified school boundary as a key
factor in competitive balance. From where and how a district or school
receives its students does affect athletic success. Current percentages
proposed by the committee (which could be modified by the Board of
Directors per its discretion or through a recommendation from a
Competitive Balance Standing Committee):
1. Non‐public schools with no boundaries: 10 percent times enrollment
will be added;
2. Non‐public schools with limited boundaries: 8 percent times
enrollment will be added;
3. Public schools with statewide open enrollment: 6 percent times
enrollment will be added (*);
4. Public schools with adjacent districts open enrollment: 4 percent
times enrollment will be added (*);
5. Public schools with no open enrollment: no percentage added.
(*) Indicates that this percentage will NOT be applied to public schools
with open enrollment if their net number of open enrollment students is
negative (i.e. have more open enrollment students leaving the school
than coming into the school).
Beginning Enrollment x School Boundary Factor = number to be
added to the Beginning Enrollment.
Note: The school boundary factor would be gender specific (i.e. the
percentage would be placed on a school’s boys enrollment for use in boys
sports and on a school’s girls enrollment for use in girls sports).
The Competitive Balance Committee determined that the socioeconomic
makeup of a district is a key factor in competitive balance just as it
is in the probabilities of educational success. If a district is
disadvantaged, the participants may have less resources available to
participate and be successful in interscholastic athletics.
The committee chose an objective measure for the socioeconomic
factor, which is the number of free lunch participants in a high school
or district that is reported to the Ohio Department of Education through
claims submitted by participating schools. This number cannot be
manipulated by schools and many schools, including non‐public schools,
have students who participate in the program.
The current percentage proposed by the committee (which could be
modified by the Board of Directors per its discretion or through a
recommendation from a Competitive Balance Standing Committee):
The number of free lunch participants within either the high school
(if exact data is provided) or school district times 10 percent equals
number to be subtracted from enrollment
Beginning Enrollment x Percent of the Free Lunch Number of a
High School/District = the number to be reduced from the Beginning
The Competitive Balance Committee determined that tradition is also a
factor which impacts athletic success — success breeds success, as they
say. Student‐athletes often want to go to a program that has a tradition
of success. While this is not recruiting, it is a factor that cannot be
discounted when combined with the other factors identified by the
A school’s enrollment could increase by adding a percentage based on a
school’s most recent four‐year tradition of advancement to the regional
and/or state tournament.
The current percentage proposed by the committee on a sport‐by‐sport
basis (which could be modified by the Board of Directors per its
discretion or through a recommendation from a Competitive Balance
1. Appearances in a regional final: 6 percent of enrollment will be
2. Appearances in state tournament: 8 percent of enrollment will be
3. Appearances in state finals: 10 percent of enrollment will be added.
Note: While the highest percentage would be used for each individual
year, the total percentage for all four years would be added together to
arrive at the tradition factor.
Beginning Enrollment x the Tradition Factor over the past four
years = number to be added to the Beginning Enrollment on a
As mentioned, once all three factors are derived, schools will be placed
into their respective tournament divisions based on their
sport‐by‐sport “athletic counts.” The final “athletic count” would be
+ Boundary Factor
— Socioeconomic Factor
+ Tradition Factor
OHSAA Board of Directors Action on January 13, 2011, and the Next
The OHSAA Board of Directors approved the basic concept of the
Competitive Balance Committee’s proposal, with implementation scheduled
no later than the 2013‐14 school year (but possibly as early as the
2012‐13 school year). By approving the concept, the Board placed the
following up for a referendum vote of OHSAA member schools, which will
occur during the annual referendum voting process that takes place
between May 1 and 15:
“Each school shall be placed into tournament divisions based on its
sport‐by‐sport athletic count. The formula for determining athletic
counts and to which sports the athletic counts shall be applied will be
determined by the Board of Directors on a biennial basis. The formula
for athletic counts and the sports to which they are applied are listed
in the OHSAA’s General Sports Regulations — Tournaments.”
The Board of Directors’ current plan, which would be spelled out in the
companion Sports Regulation, is that only team sports will initially be
affected by the proposal.
Those sports are football, soccer and volleyball in the fall;
basketball in the winter, and baseball and softball in the spring.
Consideration will be given to add other sports in the future.
Additionally, a Competitive Balance Standing Committee will be
formed. This committee will monitor the effectiveness of the athletic
count formula and recommend to the Board of Directors any changes in the
weight to be given to any one or more of the factors in the formula.
Changes recommended by the Standing Committee could then be approved by
the Board of Directors and reflected in the Sports Regulations.
OHSAA Competitive Balance Formula Examples
1: School A – Public, Boys Enrollment: 388; Girls
School Boundary Factor
• This school has statewide open enrollment and has a positive net gain
of open enrollment students.
• Boys — 6 percent of 388 = +23
• Girls — 6 percent of 330 = +20
• This school has 85 total students who are on the free lunch program.
– 10 percent of 85 = ‐9 (subtracted from the “athletic count”)
• Boys: this school’s basketball team reached the regional finals one
year and the state tournament two other years during the past four‐year
– 6 percent of 388 = +23
– 8 percent of 388 = +31
– 8 percent of 388 = +31
– Total Enrollment Addition = +85
• Girls: this school’s basketball team reached the regional finals
one year and did not advance to the state tournament during the past
– 6 percent of 330 = +20
– Total Enrollment Addition = +20
A’s Athletic Count For Basketball
Boys: 388 + 23 – 9 + 85 = 487 (This school was a Division II school. The
increase in enrollment would move it to Division I.)
Girls: 330 + 20 – 9 + 20 = 361 (This school was a Division II school.
The increase in enrollment would keep it in Division II.)
2: School B — Non‐Public, Boys Enrollment 175; Girls
School Boundary Factor
• This school has no boundaries.
• Boys — 10 percent of 175 = +18
• Girls — 10 percent of 165 = +17
• This school has 30 students who are on the free lunch program.
– 10 percent of 30 = ‐3 (subtracted from the “athletic count”)
• Boys: this school’s football team reached the regional finals one
year, the state tournament one year and was state champion two other
years during the past four‐year cycle.
– 6 percent of 175 = +11
– 8 percent of 175 = +14
– 10 percent of 175 = +18
– 10 percent of 175 = +18
– Total Enrollment Addition = +61
• Girls: this school’s volleyball team reached the regional finals three
years during the past four‐year cycle.
– 6 percent of 165 = +10
– 6 percent of 165 = +10
– 6 percent of 165 = +10
– Total Enrollment Addition = +30
B’s Athletic Count
Football: 175 + 18 – 3 + 61 = 251 (This school was a Division V school.
The increase in enrollment would
move it to Division IV.)
Volleyball: 165 + 17 – 3 + 30 = 209 (This school was a Division III
school. The increase in enrollment would keep it in Division III.)