Dyer Straight: New Competitive Balance Proposal leaves ADs, others wanting more

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Dyer Straight

By Mike Dyer

A lot of Questions remain after initial release of New CBP News

Like it or not, a competitive balance proposal has almost become a rite of spring.

For a fourth consecutive year, the Ohio High School Athletic Association will have a competitive balance proposal on the referendum voting ballot from the May 1 to May 15 voting period.

What is different this time around?

Dyer-ColumnNot a ton besides additional components which would enforce modifying factors if students in public schools do not have their parents live in the district or the student has not been continuously enrolled in the district since the seventh grade.

Additionally, students in non-public schools will be subject to the same modifying factors if they did not attend the school’s designated feeder school(s) since seventh grade or have not been continuously enrolled in the same education system.

This proposal also adds the sport specific factor for football, volleyball, soccer, basketball, baseball and softball.

Submission of rosters would be based on the prior year as opposed to September so teams would know which division they would be in much earlier and avoid a possible clerical nightmare with collection of data at the beginning of the school year.

Check out the complete details on the proposal here (JJ Huddle link).

Initial reaction in the Cincinnati area on Tuesday afternoon was fairly quiet and multiple athletic directors wanted more information instead of the news media release.

But for a topic which has received four times the number of feedback than eligibility and transfers, there was of course, mixed opinion.

“I am anxious to see the actual proposal,” West Chester Lakota West athletic director Scott Kaufman said. “I just hope to receive it with sufficient time to evaluate its overall impact.”

Cincinnati Mariemont athletic director Tom Nerl said very few details of the proposal besides a news release and an encouragement for an affirmative vote from the OHSAA leaves him with several questions.

“We need the best proposal, period,” Nerl said. “Not just the best one for the moment. How about a trial run before it’s passed?”

Nerl said he wants further details and would like to see a trial run of the numbers for the sports of football, soccer, basketball, baseball and softball.

“There was a referendum a few years back with the socioeconomic factors and program history in the state tournament and once a test was run on the numbers there were very few changes for schools,” Nerl said.

Nerl said he was left wondering about the language of the OHSAA release and it seemed vague on addressing other issues.

“Just like last year’s proposal, there are too many questions that need to be answered, and too many facts that need to be presented,” Nerl said. “Just what is the end result desired? Is it to make the divisions more competitive, is to make the public schools competitive with the private schools? Is it to keep the public v. private vote away.”

Cincinnati Wyoming athletic director Jan Wilking was told by the OHSAA in an email Tuesday afternoon that the complete proposal would be soon sent to the membership and posted on the OHSAA site.

Another athletic director said the proposal still didn’t address Division I non-public school programs like those in Cincinnati where students from multiple zip codes can attend.

But, OHSAA Commissioner Dr. Dan Ross assured the media on a teleconference call Tuesday afternoon that the Division I issue will be addressed in the near future.
Ross said this proposal was never intended to address Division I, but said the seventh division in football addressed that sport.

Ross added Division I is its own “separate issue” and would be tackled in due time.
With Division I, Ross said, there are “too many tentacles at one time.”
Fairfield High School athletic director Mark Harden said there are unique challenges in every region of the state but said Tuesday’s proposal was a “great first step” in addressing some of those concerns.

Harden, who leads one of the largest high school athletic programs in Ohio, said he gained a new understanding of the challenges of competitive balance by serving on the committee and a sub-committee and meeting up to 10 times since last summer. There were 26 other members on the committee.

“I did learn about the lower divisions,” Harden said. “It’s good to hear some of the other sides of the issues.”

For the Competitive Balance Committee and a unanimous vote from the OHSAA Board of Directors, Tuesday morning’s announcement was a first step to educate some 825 member schools around the state about their stance.

Last spring the vote was narrowly defeated and it seems logical it will be close again.

The OHSAA is hoping all member schools vote.

Ross plans to take one of his Town Hall meetings to Wright State University on April 23. Instead of the 10 or 11 Athletic Discussion meetings like last spring, Dr. Ross will personally meet with athletic administrators and those school officials wanting to attend.

If the proposal gets approved it would go in effect for the 2016-17 school year.

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