OHSAA lawsuit: ‘We will aggressively pursue defense of adopted bylaws’

Ohio High School Athletic Association executive director Jerry Snodgrass said on Friday that “we will aggressively pursue defense of the bylaws that our member schools adopted,” concerning a lawsuit filed this week in Hamilton County Court about its competitive balance initiative.

The OHSAA will be represented by the Cincinnati law firm Keating, Muething and Klekamp PLL in defense of a temporary restraining order that was granted to Roger Bacon High School and the Greater Catholic League Co-Ed.

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KMK will team with OHSAA general counsel Steve Craig in defense of a challenge to the competitive balance formula that determines which divisions for teams in the postseason. Roger Bacon officials contend it should be allowed to claim additional feeder schools.

“We look forward to vigorously defending the OHSAA’s position,” said Joe Callow, partner at KMK, in a release. “We believe that the case has no merit and we are in the process of exploring all defenses and legal options.”

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Competitive balance passed by a majority vote of more than 800 school administrators in 2014, but wasn’t implemented until the fall of 2017. It’s a landmark attempt to “level the playing field” between private and public schools.

It’s based on a numerical formula that accounts for student enrollment, residence and where a student began the seventh grade. All schools are required to claim one bordering school district where most of its students reside. Private schools have maintained that is unfair, because many of their students are from multiple school districts.

Competitive balance affects only football, soccer, girls volleyball, basketball, softball and baseball.

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A temporary restraining order was approved on Wednesday. It prohibits that part of the competitive balance process against Roger Bacon and the other seven GCL Co-Ed schools: Alter, Badin, Carroll, Chaminade Julienne, Cincinnati Purcell Marian, Cincinnati McNicholas and Fenwick.

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The lawsuit has statewide implications to all OHSAA member schools.

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