OHSAA OK’s another competitive balance proposal

A revised competitive balance proposal was approved by the Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Directors on Tuesday in Columbus.

Like three previous years in which similar proposals have been voted down, association member school principals will vote on the latest version from May 1-15. If passed, it will be implemented for the 2016-17 school year.

Initial team sports affected would be football, volleyball and soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball and softball in the spring.

“I honestly believe that this is the best proposal that we’ve had so far,” said OHSAA Commissioner Dr. Dan Ross in a statewide media conference call.

A simple majority vote among the 825 Ohio high school principals is needed for passage.

The proposal — based on the previous school year’s numbers — will be used to determine the divisions in which teams will be placed for their respective postseasons. It’s a numerical formula that uses three factors:

• Education Management Information System number. This is a value that all primary and secondary schools are assigned by the Ohio Department of Education. It’s a combination of demographics, attendance, course information, financial data and test results.

• Team rosters will affect a school’s EMIS number. Each student who participates in those sports — ninth through 12th grades — will be assessed a numerical value based on whether or not that student started in the school district in the seventh grade.

• Finally, the residential/custodial status of a student’s parents; specifically, if they reside in the school district or not and for how long.

Previous voted-down proposals also have included “socioeconomic” and “tradition” factors.

Also tweaked from last year’s proposal was a non-public schools residential factor. Previously, schools would be hit with a higher multiple factor if a private student-athlete resided outside the designated public school attandance zone in which the private school is located.

Feedback from some Lima, Canton and Columbus school districts indicated that their go-to parishes and main feeder schools were outside those predetermined areas and would unfairly count against them.

If passed, private schools could pick their public school districts in which most of their students come from.

The latest proposal stems from an ongoing effort by the OHSAA to balance state championship results among public and private schools.

If passed, the proposal will be annually assessed and amended. “As we’ve said in the past, this proposal … is a starting point,” Ross said.

It does not address the imbalance of Division I student-athlete numbers compared to other divisions.

“It’s an animal of its own,” Ross said. “(The committee thinks) Division I is going to be a separate issue that they’re going to have to tackle on their own.”

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