PDT Sports Writer
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the beginning of a series of articles involving an interview that took place Tuesday with Tim Stried, OHSAA Director of Information Services. A video of the interview will be posted on the Daily Times website later this week.
For years, the debate has been waged as to whether or not public and non-public high schools should compete for the same title every year.
While the argument is stronger in Catholic school-dense regions such as Cincinnati and Cleveland, it may have a trickle-down effect to Scioto County’s two non-public schools, East and Notre Dame. Presently, attempts to create a split based solely a school’s designation have been shot down.
For Tim Stried, OHSAA Director of Information Services, a true split would hurt schools such as the Tartans and the Titans.
“I would think that, especially schools in this part of the state, if there were separate tournaments for private schools, I’d think that schools out here might get the raw end of the deal,” Stried said. “In southeast Ohio and and southern Ohio, there’s not many private schools compared to the northeast part of the state and the southwest part of the state where there are a lot of private and very large private schools.”
Stried mentioned how the lack of so-called “private” schools in the southeast region could hypothetically result in teams from this region traveling to places such as Steubenville for tournament events if the referendum were ever to pass. The Southeast District has three schools — East, Notre Dame and Ironton St. Joseph — that are not public institutions.
“Personally, we hope it fails again because we want one tournament for both public and private schools,” Stried said.
There will be a change in the divisional breakdown for football next fall as a seventh division will be created. Currently, the six divisions are broken up as follows: Division I (494 boys and more in grades 9-12), Division II (327-493), Division III (243-326), Division IV (172-242), Division V (120-171) and Division VI (119 and under).
In the current format, Stried estimated that 26 percent of the high schools in the state each year participate in the high school playoffs. He also mentioned how Ohio is set up to be selective while states such as Indiana have all of the teams participate in the postseason.
The seventh division is created to split Division I in half and drop every other school down one division. This will allow the playoff figures to jump up from 26 to an estimated 31 percent rate.
“That’s still a less than a third of the teams to make the postseason,” Stried said.
Stried said the reaction to a seventh division has been mostly positive, but there have been responses of watering down the playoffs from some.
“I always try to remind folks that Idaho has eight divisions in football,” Stried said. “I don’t think we’ll do too bad with seven.”
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 242, or firstname.lastname@example.org.