Last week on JJHuddle we ran an article submitted to us by an OHSAA member school voicing concerns regarding the new Competitive Balance Proposal. Today, on the first day schools are allowed to vote, the OHSAA has provided us with their response…
JJH Competitive Balance Coverage
Coming Soon…Survey results and opinions from Ohio’s athletic directors.
OHSAA Response to JJHuddle.com article from Member School
May 1, 2013
Re: Competitive Balance Proposal
*JJHUDDLE: 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.
OHSAA: The Competitive Balance Committee is advisory in nature only. The Board of Directors (which is elected by the membership) will make any decisions that are accorded to them, many of which are already accorded under current Bylaw 2. The Board will still be setting the division lines for all multiple-division sports and assigning school to tournaments. The discretionary authority (for the Board of Directors) that is involved in the revision of Bylaw 2 (Issue 1B) is the Board’s authority to adjust the sports specific factor (2-1-7), set up compliance administrators (2-1-10); create the criteria for a waiver (2-1-8) and establish the deadline for submission of the eligibility certificate (2-1-9)
*JJHUDDLE: 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?
OHSAA: It has been the school membership, not the OHSAA office, which has inquired about whether this statistic occurs simply by chance, or if there are other forces in action which “stack the deck” in favor of schools that can secure students from a larger geographic area, may be able to control their enrollment and have to recruit students (not specifically for athletic purposes, however) to stay in business. This revision is in no way directed toward establishing who is “allowed” to win championships. Instead it is directed toward offering a more equal opportunity for schools to vie for a championship.
*JJHUDDLE: 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?
OHSAA: Competitive Balance refers to providing opportunities for all schools to compete for championships in as similar a fashion as possible. Why is that term deemed problematic?
*JJHUDDLE: 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?
OHSAA: The membership will certainly weight in on whether they think this solution, if adopted, provides for equity.
*JJHUDDLE: 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.
OHSAA: What is the question here, or what is the point of this statement?
*JJHUDDLE: 3. OHSAA 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.
OHSAA: The waiver will simply allow the school to be assigned based only on the enrollment count. It will have nothing to do with moving the school up or down a division unless that is where the school would fall based on enrollment.
*JJHUDDLE: 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.
OHSAA: The OHSAA seeks to encourage participation. If a school “cuts” student-athletes who live outside the school’s attendance zone, who is doing the discouraging?
*JJHUDDLE: 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.
JJHUDDLE: 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.
OHSAA: Looking at many regular-season schedules refutes this notion.
*JJHUDDLE: 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.
OHSAA: Being able to attract students from a larger area enhances the ability to attract a superior student, as well as an athlete. That is the fundamental concept behind the issue. To suggest that a student would not come to a school because of its tournament division is really focusing just on athletics.
*JJHUDDLE: 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.’
OHSAA: Many states already use a multiplier for determining postseason tournament divisions. It does not have anything to do with the basic fundamentals of school sports that were named, such as teamwork, school pride and sacrifice.
*JJHUDDLE: 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.
OHSAA: Addresses will not be posted. It is a simple question of – ‘does the student live outside the district?” Yes or no.
*JJHUDDLE: 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.
OHSAA: Based on survey results and the number of schools that signed the petition to create separate tournament divisions for public and non-public schools, it is clear that many schools want some kind of change. The newest Competitive Balance Proposal is meant to create some amount of change, but not to create separation of public and non-public schools.
*JJHUDDLE: 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.
OHSAA: The filter is applied the same for public school students whether they have been in non-public education or public school in elementary grades. Regardless of where a student attended elementary school, they get counted if they live outside the district.
*JJHUDDLE: 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.
OHSAA: The scenario of not knowing your opponents’ division already exists every two years now due to the current two-year cycle. For example, schools have already completed their 2013 football schedules, but the divisional assignments will not be announced until June.