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Ohio Supreme Court sides with OHSAA over restraining order

The Ohio Supreme Court on Monday night announced it was siding with the Ohio High School Athletic Association in allowing an “emergency stay of enforcement of a temporary restraining order issued August 15 by Judge Robert P. Ruehlman in Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas.”

Here’s seven things to know about this and why it affects every high school football, soccer and volleyball team in the state this fall season.

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1. How did this start? Administrators at Cincinnati Roger Bacon High School opposed one of the criteria of the OHSAA’s competitive balance formula. All private schools are required to list one neighboring public school district as the base for its students. Those who reside outside that chosen district would be subject to a greater numerical multiplication value. Roger Bacon administrators want to include additional public school districts.

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2. Who else is in on this? The entire Greater Catholic League Co-Ed Division of Alter, Carroll, Chaminade Julienne, Fenwick, Cincinnati Purcell Marian, Hamilton Badin and Cincinnati McNicholas.

3. Why is that an issue with the OHSAA? Changing the formula to claim additional school districts wouldn’t just affect GCL Co-Ed membership. Instead, it would affect the entire OHSAA membership, which represents more than 800-plus schools in the state.

4. What’s the OHSAA stance? Since it’s a voluntary membership and bylaws are implemented by unanimous vote, Judge Ruehlman “does not have the jurisdiction or authority to issue a TRO … of this unincorporated private association.”

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5. Why is this important? Because the OHSAA’s competitive balance formula determines which divisions teams will be assigned for the postseason. The only sports that are affected by competitive balance are football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, softball and baseball.

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6. What’s next? The Ohio Supreme Court will huddle again to “consider the merits of the OHSAA’s Supreme Court complaint.” However, no date has been set.

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7. Is this a win for the OHSAA? For now, but the issue is not settled. “We do not believe that courts can interfere with the internal affairs and application of the bylaws of the OHSAA, which were duly adopted by the member schools,” said attorney Joe Callow, a member of the legal team representing the OHSAA.

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