Ohio HS Insider: Eight-Man Football, Competitive Balance, Transfers, State Football, Lacrosse and More

Ohio HS Insider

By Eric Frantz

State Tennis Finals Moving, New CBP coming, OHSAA eying OSU ticket holders for state FB finals

Thursday OHSAA Commissioner Dr. Dan Ross addressed a group of select media during a meeting of the OHSAA’s Media Advisory Board. Among the items discussed were competitive balance, state football, transfers, state tennis, lacrosse becoming an OHSAA sport and much more. Meeting highlights included:


In regards to the OHSAA’s new transfer bylaw (students have to sit out 50% of a sport they played at previous school and 0% of a new sport), Ross indicated the new rule has helped immensely. The OHSAA fielded 96-97 appeals cases last year in regards to transfers. This year that number is just slightly over 30. IN essence the appeals have been cut in half. Ross met with a group of principals and superintendents last week and said the rule wasn’t discussed once.


In regards to the first season of seven divisions in state football, Ross said the OHSAA “absolutely did the right thing” in frantz_columnistadding a new division. He said he fielded no negative feedback regarding the new D-I and heard several positive remarks about the new D-II. Ross also said the OHSAA was happy with just two regions in D-I. It was also announced that the games wil remain on a Thursday-Saturday schedule this year when they move to Columbus. Start times, however, may change. Currently the 11-3-7 kickoff time schedule could be replaced by a 10:30-3-7:30 start slate. A decision is expected in the spring. A decision still looms regarding clearing the stadium between games. It was also noted that Ohio State season ticket holders are going to be sent information about purchasing ticket packages for the state finals. Central Ohio businesses are also going to push ticket packages as a form of fundraising. As for where the state finals land after the 2015 season, preparation is currently being made to field bids from Columbus and Stark County for 2016 and beyond. It was indicated that bids from other locales will not be sought moving forward at this time. It was also indicated that the next time the state finals are awarded no certain time frame (two-year, four-year) has been decided yet.


Ross said that the OHSAA has fielded several inquiries from schools n Northwest and Southeast Ohio about the possibility of offering eight-man football. This is due to low numbers. Stay tuned.


So far the OHSAA;s competitive balance committee has met 8-10 times since the start of the school year. What the committee is going to propose (will be finaled in February/March) is going to be similar to the proposal pitched last year and “roster driven” according to Ross. “Where your kids are from,” Ross said. During a recent survey of district admins, Ross said the No. 1 concern was competitive balance. It was four times more important than the No. 2 concern – transfers.


The OHSAA currently does not make it mandatory for schools to vote on its annual referendum items (which has included competitive balance the last three years). Last year 143 schools didn’t return ballots/vote. This year a new regulation requiring schools to “return” the ballots is on the docket. Schools still won’t be required to vote on the issues, but they will be required to return the ballots indicating that they did receive and are aware of the items up for vote.


A recommendation is in the works to move the state tennis tournaments from Ohio State to Mason’s ATP Tennis Center. A board approval will be needed. Play is expected to begin in Mason in 2015 (once approved).


Ross said bowling is the OHSAA’s fastest growing sport and that the next sport to be added as an OHSAA sport will likely be lacrosse. A minimum of 150 schools are required to field a team to make a sport eligibale for OHSAA inclusion. Right now roughly 110 schools statewide play lacrosse. Ross is certain that number will climb once the sport is sanctioned, but getting that 40 more to commit before that happens is the current hurdle.

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