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Explaining Ohio's new Competitive Balance Proposal for high school sports

The OHSAA tries to level the playing field

It's a debate that has gone on for years, especially recently in the state of Ohio. The public v.s. private argument. Should private schools have their own division and state championships? It's a legitimate question, considering that private schools make up only 17% of schools in the OHSAA, but have won 44% of state championship over the last 20 years. Both sides have opinions that make sense as to weather or not these teams should be split or not:

For the public school argument, click here

For the private school argument, click here

For one possible solution, click here

After three failed attempts, the fourth time proved to be the charm for the OHSAA. Last Friday, by a vote of 411-323, they finally passed a Competitive Balance Proposal. While it does not truly separate public v.s. private, it is a step in the right direction as far as leveling the playing field. These new regulations go into affect starting in 2016.

To truly understand the effect this new proposal will have on certain schools, we have to show how the schools and Divisions are broken down. All Divisions are broken down according to enrollments in grades 9-12:

Divisional breakdowns for each sport can be found here

What does the new Competitive Balance Proposal do?.... Three things. First, it establishes enrollment numbers based on residency and prior school district attendance. Secondly, it divides those students into "Levels" dependent on those residency and attendance numbers. For example, for public schools:

Level 0..... Student's parents reside in the school district

Level 1.... Student's parents reside outside of the school district, but the student has been continuously enrolled in the district since the beginning of 7th grade.

Level 2.... Parents live outside the school district and child has not been enrolled since the beginning of 7th grade

The process works the same for private schools, with the only difference being that they substitute designated feeder schools in place of the school district you live in.

Third, the OHSAA came up with a "Sport Specific Factor", or "Multiplier". There is a different SSF for each sport. Football has a SSF of 2. Volleyball, Basketball, Baseball and Softball have a SSF of 5, and Soccer has a SSF of 6.

How does this affect enrollment numbers?.... Here is how enrollment can change. Take basketball as an example. Take the total amount of boys in grades 9-11. This is considered your "Initial Enrollment Count". Break those kids down into Levels 0,1,or 2. Using basketball as our example, take the Level 1 kids and multiply that number by the SSF, and do the same with the Level 2 kids. Add those two numbers to your Initial Enrollment Count, and that number is considered a schools Adjusted Enrollment Count. An example can be seen below:

Take a private school with 12 players on their basketball team, and an enrollment of 350 boys in grades 9-11. This would make this team a Division II team. On last year's team, there were 5 kids that went to public schools all their life, and enrolled in the private school in 9th grade, and live outside the school's district. Those boys would be considered "Level 2" athletes.

Take those 5 kids, and multiply that by the SSF for basketball (5x5) and the answer is 25. That number (25) is then added to the Initial enrollment of 350, giving the Adjusted Enrollment total of 375. Presto! This team is now a Division I team for that basketball season.

Who does it help, and who does it hurt?.... Who this Competitive Balance Proposal helps are the smaller schools that may run into a sports "power" in a lower division. Public school teams won't have to run into a Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary in football in Division III, or a Villa-Angela-St. Joseph in basketball in Division III, as both of those teams will most likely move up a division for certain sports. Who it hurts are those teams mentioned above any any public school with open enrollment, such as Glenville. The Tarblooders will certainly get bumped to Division I in football.

Does this new proposal go far enough? Probably not. The big schools such as St. Ignatius, St. Edward, Cincinnati Moeller, and others will see no affect on their status at the top of the mountain. It will be the lower divisions where this new proposal will affect teams.

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