ATW: One more helping of Public vs Private…Can we make this one count?


Public vs Private: It won’t go away…

Ready for Round III? It’s coming. In May, OHSAA member schools will vote on another Public vs Private solution. This one however, is the absolute: separate postseasons. You’d think everyone cares…right? Everyone votes? You’d be wrong…

After the Whistle…

Here we go again.

Wayne County won’t let it die.

Public vs Private. Round III.

In May, once again, Ohio high schools will vote on postseason play.

After trying to pass it’s own creative plan – including where kids lived, how they got their lunch and how good they were at sports – the OHSAA and the rest of us are left with this…bare bones.

The upcoming vote – feuled by a petition from the same relentless group of Superintendents from Wayne County – will be whether public and private schools should have split postseasons. Plain and simple. No sugarcoat. Do or die. Nothing else.

The saga started with the same group of administrators in December 2009. Hopefully it will end in 2013.

This is the high-water mark. No? A sort of Gettysburg? There’s no other option once the absolute has been offered…right?

Depends who wins or loses. Something tells me either outcome won’t be the end of the bellyaching, but here’s something I’d like to end – the fact that not all OHSAA member schools have to vote on it. This is something everyone can understand.

Sure, all OHSAA members are sent ballots, but not all are returned. And there’s no legislation saying votes have to be.

With that in mind, last year 22-percent of the schools (roughly 180) in the OHSAA did not respond to the OHSAA’s annual May memorandum packets. The year before it was nearly the same. Competitive balance? A quarter of schools could care less.

To get the latest proposal placed on the 2013 ballot, the Wayne County clan needed just 75 signatures from high school principals. There are over 800 schools in the OHSAA.

So why aren’t all schools required to vote?

Some will point to the recent general election and say not everyone voted in that either. True. But the OHSAA is a private organization. It does not require schools to pay membership fees to belong. It should however require their vote. Call it a qualification for the postseason. For schools to be eligible for tournament play each year, they have to vote and return the memorandum packets. Every year. Easy enough.

Can we get that passed before May?

As for the impending vote, nothing will surprise me. The last two outcomes have been closer than I anticipated because not everyone has to vote and people vote differently behind closed doors than they do in public.

It should be noted too that high school principals – not athletic directors – are the ones that cast ballots. Principals may have a very different agenda than athletic directors…or they may not have one at all. You’d think principals would consult the AD and others in their district before voting on competitive balance – not all do.

The AD is the voice of the district’s athletic programs and should be the one that rules on OHSAA matters. Why they don’t needs remedied too.

And speaking of medicine, I don’t buy talk that a public vs private split is a bad pill.

I don’t want to see it, but if it happens, here’s what else might…the OHSAA could make more money.

If the private schools split like everyone anticipates, the OHSAA will have less schools to govern, less expenses and could have substantially larger postseason paydays. All-public school state tournaments would be a revenue behemoth.

All private-school state finals would generate some dough as well. St. Ignatius vs St. Xavier, Moeller vs St. Edward, Alter vs Mooney, Columbus DeSales vs Toledo Central Catholic – those match-ups don’t move the needle? Thought so.

For some reason it’s widely believed that if public and private schools aren’t governed by the same body they can’t play each other and therefore, private schools in particular, could have scheduling and income issues.

Why? Why can’t they play in the regular season? Unless they’re forbidden to play each other, there’s no reason crossover games can’t be contested. As is, Ohio teams play schools from out-of-state and out-of-the-country (Canada). They just won’t play in the postseason.

The good news is a decision on this won’t be coming this week. We have time to debate.

The bad news is a decision on this won’t be coming until May. We have too much time to debate.

What we know is this: Come May, OHSAA member schools will be sent a packet asking for a vote that will decide the fate and future of the postseason high school sports landscape in Ohio. That packet will go to a principal who does or does not have to return it.

Talk about absolutes.

How important is this again?

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