COLUMBUS - The Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Directors has unanimously approved a competitive balance proposal that makes modifications on how schools are placed in tournaments in team sports.
The plan, recommended to the board from the 27-member OHSAA Competitive Balance Committee, is similar to the proposal that member schools voted upon last spring.
In addition to the size of a school's enrollment, new modifying factors may be applied to students on each roster on a sport-by-sport basis that are based on where the student's parents reside and the educational system history of the student.
All schools will be subject to the new competitive balance formula, which will be applied to students in the sports of football, soccer and volleyball in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball and softball in the spring.
This year's referendum voting by the 825 high school principals will take place between May 1 and May 15. If approved, it is anticipated the proposal will become effective for the 2016-17 school year.
"I'm extremely pleased with the plan that the committee has recommended and the board has approved," said OHSAA Commissioner Dan Ross.
"While the proposal is similar to last year's, the modified version is the result of a compilation of input from our superintendents, principals, athletic administrators and coaches.
"I'm most proud that we were able to work together and come up with a solution that will create a better system than we currently have because it looks at how schools secure the enrollment of their students participating in interscholastic athletics."
If passed, the new proposal will require schools to submit to the OHSAA their team rosters of student-athletes in grades nine through 12 and to further provide more information about each student. Students in public schools will be subject to modifying factors if their parents do not reside in the district or the student has not been continuously enrolled in the district since seventh grade, and students in nonpublic schools will be subject to the same modifying factors if they did not attend that school's designated "feeder" school(s) continuously since seventh grade or have not been continuously enrolled in the same system of education.
"I believe the Competitive balance committee has met its charge in that this proposal is not only reliable but also can be clearly applied and fairly administered for all member schools," Ross said, "with the ultimate objective being to promote competitive equity and ensuring that student-athletes will continue to learn life lessons in an education-based setting.
"The board and competitive balance committee are committed to continuing to study this issue, working on ways to improve the formula.
"As we've said in the past, this proposal, should it pass, is a starting point and any data and feedback gathered after the plan is rolled out will only help strengthen what changes can take place in the future.
"Any proposed formula changes in the future will also continue to be voted upon by the membership."
As has been done in the past, the OHSAA staff will provide further details of the proposal, along with the other referendum issues, and answer questions during the annual OHSAA town hall meetings (formerly known as athletic discussion meetings) in April. Besides the four face-to-face meetings, plans are being finalized to also discuss the proposal during on-line meetings.