CINCINNATI -- Competitive balance will become reality in Ohio high school sports this fall. The Ohio High School Athletic Association has developed a plan aimed at leveling the playing field that includes non-public school programs and their success in state tournaments.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association plans to announce Monday the timeline for how the next two-year enrollment cycle will be unveiled in conjunction with competitive balance data.
WCPO.com requested the language for the tentative timeline and was granted the information Friday morning.
Every two years, the Ohio Department of Education furnishes the OHSAA with enrollment data in grades 9-11. This school year’s data is based upon Oct. 31, 2016.
From those numbers, the OHSAA then places schools in respective divisions for postseason tournaments.
Later this month, the OHSAA will post high school base enrollment data received from the Ohio Department of Education (grades 9-11 as of Oct. 31, 2016) for the next two-year cycle.
Schools will have one week to appeal the enrollment numbers.
The OHSAA Board of Directors will be asked at its March 24 meeting to approve base enrollment data pending any appeals from member schools.
The competitive balance plan adds additional modifying factors to enrollment counts based on each sport-specific roster. It's dependent upon where the student’s parents reside for public school students and/or the educational system history for non-public school students.
The OHSAA Board of Directors will be asked to approve adjusted enrollment counts in football, soccer and girls’ volleyball and to approve the divisional breakdowns in all fall sports at the April 6 meeting.
Superintendents, principals, athletic directors, coaches and student-athletes across the state are anticipating the adjusted enrollment data to understand which tournament division schools will compete in for those three fall sports.
This fall season is the first in Ohio to be impacted by a competitive balance measure that was passed in May 2014.
The central question the OHSAA wants to answer with competitive balance is where parents and students reside within the school district’s attendance zone.
The OHSAA is still deciding how the competitive balance will be posted in the spring.
“It took a lot of time and effort to receive the roster data from all 821 high schools from their fall sports,” OHSAA spokesman Tim Stried told WCPO.com. “But we are pleased we were able to do that. Our staff is now working with the competitive balance formula that was adopted by our member schools. We can start putting numbers together now.”
After almost eight years of proposals, the OHSAA is on the brink of announcing how the competitive balance data will impact fall sports later this year.
“We are all curious how the competitive balance process will affect divisions in our fall sports next school year,” Stried said.
In 2010, the OHSAA’s Competitive Balance Committee was formed in response to a growing number of public schools that believed many non-public schools had an unfair advantage in postseason tournaments due to the larger geographic area from which those schools draw.
Moreover, the concern is the number of state championships won by non-public school schools is much higher than the percentage of non-public schools within the OHSAA membership, which has 821 schools in 2016-17.
“I think it’s all about transparency,” Fairfield Athletic Director Mark Harden told WCPO.com earlier this week. “If schools say, ‘we don’t reach out and we don’t recruit and that we don’t have many kids from all these other areas -- their numbers are going to bear that out. It’s going to be pretty simple.”
La Salle, which is the first school to win three consecutive Division II state football titles, is one of the schools in the spotlight for their divisional placement in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years.
La Salle Athletic Director Keith Pantling told WCPO.com earlier this week it's premature to officially determine which division the Lancers will compete in starting this August until he hears from the OHSAA.
But Pantling believes La Salle will stay at Division II in football.
“Our senior class that we’re losing is the same size as our freshman class, so we don’t anticipate our number changing that much from the previous year," Pantling said. "In football specifically, we were ranked around 100." (The largest 72 schools in football based on enrollment are Division I).
“So determining whether that competitive balance will have us jump 28 schools is anybody’s guess. I don’t see it happening. It could also work the other way where some other teams that are large schools could move further up. We are going to continue to monitor it.”
By the end of March or early April, the OHSAA staff will add competitive balance roster data in football, soccer and girls’ volleyball and establish adjusted enrollment counts in those sports.
The board of directors will be asked to approve that data and approve divisional breakdowns for fall sports at its April 6 meeting.
In May, the OHSAA staff will add competitive balance data in basketball and establish adjusted enrollment for that sport.
The board will be asked at the June 1 meeting to approve adjusted enrollment counts in basketball and approve divisional breakdowns in all winter sports.
This summer, the OHSAA staff will add competitive balance data in softball and baseball and establish adjusted enrollment counts in those sports.
The board will be asked at its Aug. 3 meeting to approve adjusted enrollment counts in softball and baseball and approve divisional breakdowns in all the 2018 spring sports.
For now, the OHSAA is using a formula for the six multiple-division team sports (soccer, volleyball, football, basketball, baseball and softball).