Ohio HS Insider: 183 schools didn’t have their (bleep) together, Cutting sports costs more than keeping them


JJHuddle’s Ohio HS Insider

What’s on the wall this week? How about: Districts that cut sports to save short term lose big time down the road; Ursuline vs St. Edward; Who voted Yes for Competitive Balance; Wayne County Won despite losing; Cross Country State finals moving? All that and more inside the

Today we continue a new feature on JJHuddle called the Ohio HS
. So what exactly is it? It’s our home for material we’ve
collected and can’t house anywhere else. Call it a message board with
. We know you want to hear the good stuff. And that’s what this
is…high school-wise.

has a few rules. In order to offer this material to you we have to:
Not attribute it to any particular source (but they are ones we trust)
Not attribute it to any particular reporter
3) Disclaim that we
don’t know if any of it is true (plenty of it is)

Simple enough
and No, we’re not just starting rumors. We’re reporting to you what you
want to know and protecting those who have told us at the same time.

Ohio HS Insider will run every Wednesday. Should we receive
news, however, that we don’t think can wait, we reserve the right to
unleash special Ohio HS Insider’s as needed.

That being said, we think this info is interesting and fairly entertaining.
Hope you do too. Enjoy…

JJHuddle’s Ohio HS

*Districts LOSE $ When They Cut Sports…One of the biggest myths in regards to school districts, cuts and how to cope with shrinking state funding is to strip schools of extracurriculars and sports. Despite the fact that they are not required in the curriculum, sports and all other extracurriculars are indeed part of the educational experience. All Ohio schools – public and private – are eligible for state aid and different criteria dictates how much they receive. Some schools get nearly all their funding through the state, while others are down in the 30% or lower range.

When schools cut sports, they save short term on coaching expenses, transportation, equipment and game management (referees). They however lose in the long term.

A district that cuts sports leaves itself open to several lasting and significant pitfalls:

1. Students transfer and take their state money with them: When a student leaves a school district and transfers to another, their state funding goes with them. As an example, a school in a suburban setting could save roughly $5,000 a year by not paying a head football coach in the fall. However, if just ONE student transfers from that same school because there is no football, that district could lose nearly $6,000 in state funding. Where’s the win?

2. “Leadership” leaves: Not all students are going to transfer but several of the student body’s “leaders” will bolt. It’s just the nature of the beast. A lot of vocal students who people look up to play sports.

3. Property Tax Collections Fall: Not only do students transfer, but some families will flat out move and take their property taxes with them. There’s some more money districts won’t get in the long run.

4. People don’t come back: When students leave, their return is unlikely. The OHSAA has a rule that students can legally transfer from a district that doesn’t offer sports to one that does and they don’t have to move. When and if their original district regains sports, those students DON’T have to go back. Most don’t.

5. No one moves in: Remember those houses vacated by families that left? Whose going to want to fill them to send their kid to a school with no spirit and nothing to rally around? Exactly.

6. You lose entire families: When a family transfers, they take everyone with them: brothers and sisters included. So, a district might lose just one high school athlete because of no sports, but they might lose three future athletes who follow their older sibling and family to a district that does field sports. And a family with four kids could potentially take over $20,000 in state funding with them if they transfer/move.

As one high ranking OHSAA official put it, it used to be when schools “threatened” to take away sports, voters new districts were serious about budget cuts and passing levies. Nowadays, voters don’t believe you’re serious until after sports have already been cut.

It should be noted that the OHSAA has done its part to help schools by not charging membership dues, covering the costs of some postseason tournaments trips, not upping ticket prices for four years and covering all catastrophic insurance policies. 

*Not Scared…The OHSAA should release 2011 HS football schedules in early June, but a couple items of note already. Three-time defending Division V state champion Youngstown Ursuline is scheduled to play defending Division I state champion Lakewood St. Edward. The Irish will also play D-I Mentor. Also, Avon has picked up two new non-league games in Mentor Lake Catholic and Elyria Catholic.

*Wayne County Won…Despite the recent defeat of the OHSAA’s Competitive Balance proposal, born from their survey last year, the Wayne County administrators who ignited the recent “public vs private” debate have to feel pretty good regardless. Since the outcome was so close (332-303), the quagmire they created won’t be going away. Thanks to a possible new petition from this group, there’s a very real possibility that a new “public vs private” initiative could find its way onto next year’s referendum voting for OHSAA member schools. There are two trains of thought: 1) Separate State Tournaments and 2) A new “Athletic Formula.” Both are likely to be looked into. 

*Who Voted Yes?…A recent media poll of Ohio HS sportswriters produced the same results as JJHuddle.com’s poll of school administrators and coaches – tons of people who voted “no” on the CBP. There were 303 “yes” votes, but few have stepped forward to claim them. In fact, you can count them on roughly one hand. So who did vote “yes?” No one knows and it’s highly unlikely we’ll ever find out. The OHSAA is not going to release information regarding how specific schools voted, although at some point we might see numbers regarding how public and private schools as a whole voted.

*Poor Turnout? Great Turnout?…Something else that could change in the future is whether or not schools are required to vote on OHSAA referendum issues and who exactly does the voting. For 183 member schools to “not have their (bleep) together” as one media member put it, is unacceptable. As is, schools are not required to vote on referendum issues and only the school’s principal can sign the ballot. The OHSAA could resolve the matter by rewriting Article 8-1-2 of its Constitution to include the vote being “mandatory” and adding “athletic director” as a qualified signature.

As is, the turnout of 644 schools (77.9-percent) is the best for OHSAA referendum voting since 2005 when 653 schools cast ballots. Four of the last five years less then 600 schools have voted.

*Cross-Country State Finals Moving?…According to an OHSAA official, the organization would love to keep the state XC finals at Scioto Downs near Columbus but if the racetrack gets slot machines (like it’s trying to do) and refuses to disable them during the XC finals, the OHSAA is prepared to move the event. The future home? National Trail Raceway in Hebron, just outside of Newark. National Trail, which hosts NHRA events, is already in the process of creating a course.

*Coach Speak…The New JJHuddle Coaches Office forum will go Premium next week and be available only to Ohio High School Football Coaches and JJHuddle Premium members. Why join? Because this forum puts you in contact with REAL Ohio High School Football Coaches. Here’s what they’re talking about right now:

How do you tell a player he probably won’t get a D-I offer?
Baseball’s over, now what? Football? Nope…
What does everyone think about Kasich and education?
Best Tradition in Ohio?
Does Ohio need Spring Football?

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