Competitive Balance: One school’s thoughts; Survey results coming

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OHSAA: Competitive Balance

Starting next Wednesday (May 1), Ohio High School principals will vote
during the OHSAA’s annual 15-day referendum period. On the docket for
the third year in a row is a new Competitive Balance Proposal.  Will it
pass? We will address that next week with our own survey results and opinions from Ohio’s athletic directors. In the meantime, here’s one response our recent survey produced…


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JJHuddle CBP Survey Results Coming

Starting next Wednesday (May 1), Ohio High School principals will vote during the OHSAA’s annual 15-day referendum period. On the docket for the third year in a row is a new Competitive Balance Proposal.  Will it pass? We will address that next week with our own survey results and opinions from Ohio’s athletic directors.

In the meantime, here’s one response our recent survey produced…No need to know which school submitted the summary, it’s just important to know one did.

How they see it…

Problems with the OHSAA proposal

*1. OHSAA says that this is ‘a starting point’ and ‘a work in progress.’  By voting FOR this proposal, we are granting the ‘competitive balance committee’ autonomy in making decisions to tweak the system.  Granting this committee the power to tweak this without representation and voting from membership is a dangerous thing.  The reason why referendums exist to be voted on by membership every year is because these are important issues that the entire membership should have the right and option to participate.  We are eliminating the voice of the entire membership for the voice of the very few on this committee. 

*2. A popular argument in favor of the competitive balance proposal is a statistic that states “private schools make up 18% of the membership, yet win an inordinate amount of championships (40%).”  The question must be asked, in the eyes of the membership, what is an acceptable amount of championships that one school/genre is ‘allowed’ to win???  Are we regulating who is ‘allowed’ to win championships?  If this statistic is so prevalent in every press release issued by OHSAA, it is obviously important to their agenda.  Again, a question must be asked, what is an acceptable amount of championships that would satisfy?

a. The term ‘competitive balance’ is problematic to say the least.  What is being meant by this?  Is competitive balance relative to state and regional championships?  If that is the case, these championships are the elite of competition.  By definition, elite should not be balanced, it is meant to be the one, the best.  Is the goal of competitive balance to see more teams win state/regional championships?

i. If that is the goal, what is the potential to see if this is met?  For example, are there plans for a 5 year/10 year study to see if championships have won by new schools?  What is the specific/measurable goal of competitive balance?

ii. When looking specifically at football St Ignatius, Newark Catholic, Delphos St Johns and Cardinal Mooney  have won an overwhelming percentage of private school championships.  This numbers would strike to be more disproportional.  If these schools were taken out of the equation, the number of championships won by private schools in football would be much different. 

*3. OHHSA has said there will be a wavier process in which ‘non-competitive programs’ can appeal to ‘a committee’ that will determine whether they will move divisions based on athletic count, or stay in current divisions because of their non-competitive nature.  This is the TRADITION FACTOR that has been so unpopular, just disguised.  Bad teams stay down, good teams move up. 

*4. OHSAA is discouraging participation by indicating that the number of roster players will determine the multiplier, which will in turn determine the competitive division.

*5. School enrollment has been the definitive criteria for divisional play for a reason.  The more bodies you have in a school, the more opportunity you have to build competition within your teams and your programs.  By forcing schools to compete with teams with twice as many students is the ultimate in imbalance.  As a coach, you have ½ the amount of players in which to work with and develop.  Specifically in football (but I would imagine in all sports), the numbers are critical in terms of practice preparation, depth and participation. 

a. With the spilt of Division I in football, a message has been sent that enrollment disparity creates safety issues in competition.  The same issues will be created here.

*6. This proposal is greatly discouraging school choice.  Athletic participation in any sport is a small part of their high school career.  This proposal insinuates that children are choosing schools exclusively for athletic purposes, which is greatly unfair.  Students choose schools for a variety, and based on my experience, a combination of reasons.  To imply that any school or any student is attending a school for solely athletic reasons is a terribly unfair and dangerous assumption. 

*7. The idea of multiplying an individual student is dangerous and blatantly unfair. (It might be unconstitutional, but I’m not sure)   By multiplying a student, the implication is that he/she is more than a student or athlete.  Athletics is meant to develop teamwork, school pride, sacrifice and the like.  I believe that you can create mistrust though a multiplier, one that insinuates that ‘since this is unfair, he/she is worth more.’

*8. OHSAA says that rosters and athlete information will be posted online to insure credibility.  A student’s address or personal information will and should never be public knowledge or shared.

*9. OHSAA has stated several times that there is a fear of separate tournaments and that ‘something must be done.’  There is absolutely no factual basis for this.  In fact, there is factual basis to think otherwise.  Since the late 1970’s, every time a multiplier/competitive balance/separation proposal has been brought to membership, it has lost.  For 100 years the association has run business and has been successful.  The argument that “something is wrong/broke” is just not accurate. 

*10. This proposal will multiply those students that have chosen to attend our Catholic feeder schools for their entire elementary career.  Students who will have never stepped foot into a public school, let alone the ‘neighborhood’ school in their zone, will be multiplied. Students that have chosen a Catholic education will be penalized. 

*11. Football specific:  To not know the division that you are in, until you are into the season is faulty.  Much effort and thought goes into creating a varsity football schedule for all teams.  Harbin ratings and points are crucial, and that is determined by the division that you are in.  This will potentially cost teams playoff spots because of divisional changes.

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