Last updated: July 24. 2013 2:40PM - 163 Views

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Cody Leist

PDT Sports Writer

The OHSAA Board of Directors announced Friday that a new referendum will be put on the May ballot that will shake up the balance of team sports in the state of Ohio.

In a release sent Friday afternoon, OHSAA commissioner Dr. Dan Ross outlined changes in regards to the competitive balance issue that has been debated over the last few years. While previous measures tried to push for divisions based upon geographical, socioeconomic and program tradition factors, the new proposal would focus primarily on geographical factors but have tradition factors used in a different aspect.

In a teleconference with reporters Friday afternoon, Ross said the effort of creating separate tournaments between public and non-public will not be a part of the proposal. The original proposals created by Wooster Triway superintendent Dave Rice and Dalton superintendent Scott Beatty, which were originally set for the May ballot, were rescinded in order to place the revised measure for a vote.

“I know from working with the people in Wayne County for a number of months that they very much did not believe that the separation of the tournaments was probably the best option, but it was a much better option than doing nothing,” Ross said.

The new referendum takes a deeper look into team sports with high numbers of athletes from outside districts in their program to be classified in different divisions. In his example, Ross said a boys basketball program, from grades 9-12, with 10 of its 30 players living in outside the “attendance zones” will act as a multiplier towards the school’s initial enrollment figures from the Ohio Department of Education.

In the example used, each player would have a multiplier of five, making the example appear to have 50 more students of a specific gender than what they actually have in the school. If the example has 400 boys from the original enrollment figures, the open enrollment student-athletes would reflect the school has 450 boys in the school for that particular sport. A competition committee would then determine divisions based upon the adjusted numbers.

The first example Ross used involved a public school. He also used a non-public school that was across the street from the public school and was using the same attendance zone as the public school would fall under the same rules.

The sports that will be affected will be football, volleyball, soccer, basketball, baseball and softball. Each sport will have a different number multiplier and it will be determined at a later date.

“We totally support the new alternative,” Rice said. “We feel it is in the best interest of the kids in the state of Ohio and is a much better option than separate tournaments.”

All schools will have to submit a list of players that will be in that sports program, no matter what level they compete, for the OHSAA competition committee to use to determine divisions. Student-athletes who attend a school outside of their school district because their parent is employed at the school and has an agreement with the district along with foreign-exchange students will be included as an open-enrollment multiplier. Students who attend different schools outside of their district of residency but do not participate in the listed team sports will not be an affect towards the adjusted enrollment figure.

In previous proposals, a school’s tradition in a sport would have counted against them. In this plan, schools that have not experienced a certain level of success over a certain time period could avoid being moved up a division as a recommendation from the competition committee.

“We’re very pleased with this opportunity to bring change to the Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament format,” Beatty said. “We appreciate the board working with us and working together as we try to come up with a new system here.

“As Dr. Ross presented, it’s still a work in progress, the basic foundation has been laid. It makes a lot of sense, it’s easily understandable. As always, we can’t address everything but I do believe it improves the system for the majority of the student-athletes that we serve in the state of Ohio.”

All OHSAA-affiliated schools will be able to vote this measure along with other referendums May 1-15. Results of the balloting will be announced a day or two later with all measures needing a simple majority to pass.

If this measure passes, it will be implemented in the 2015-2016 school year according to the release. If it does not pass, the idea of separate tournaments will be revisited.

Cody Leist can be reached at 40-353-3101, ext. 294, or cleist@civitasmedia.com.

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