Local Sports from The Courier
Friday, April 12, 2013Administrators question new OHSAA plan
Mohawk football coach Erik Baker called the Ohio High School Athletic Association's new proposed competitive balance plan a "leap of faith."
And administrators from throughout northwest Ohio had plenty of questions about a plan that would change the way teams are classified for tournament purposes at Thursday's OHSAA discussion meeting at the University of Findlay.
OHSAA assistant commissioner Jerry Snodgrass reviewed items member school principals will be voting on during the organization's referendum period which runs from May 1-15.
The primary item of discussion was the association's third crack at competitive balance.
A proposal that would have split the tournaments between public and private schools was withdrawn last month by a group of superintendents from Wayne County who originated the plan.
The new plan would attach a mulitiplier to athletes not from a school's designated boundary.
The mulitiplier would be used in the fall sports of volleyball, boys and girls soccer and football; boys and girls basketball in the winter; and baseball and softball in the spring. It could also be applied to wrestling in the future.
Previous proposals for competitive balance based on several factors were narrowly defeated by schools in 2011 and 2012. Votes to divide the state tournaments between public and non-public were soundly defeated in 1978 and 1993.
Baker, a Findlay resident who is also Mohawk's athletic director and one of the regional directors of the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association, has reservations.
He, and some of the other 46 administrators who attended the meeting, think there are just too many unanswered questions.
"No, it's not worth it. I think it has the potential for a bait and switch," Baker said. "People will look at the numbers and there is some fine print there that it might not actually be this way.
"I truly feel like when you make a rule like this, it's hard to get rid of something like it once it's in.
"I realize why they did it. But to be responsible to 720-some schools you need to have it all ironed out before you approve something. To be asked to vote on something where there are no guarantees, I just don't know."
Some of the reservations center around the power of the OHSAA's competitive balance committee to set the number for the multiplier for each sport.
The example Snodgrass used was a multiplier of two for every football player in the program who lives outside the school district's boundaries. He used the example of a multiplier of five for players in sports like baseball, softball, basketball and volleyball.
The competitive balance committee would recommend the multipliers that would be used for each sport. The OHSAA Board of Directors would then vote to adopt those recommendations.
A few also voiced concerns about the competitive balance committee's power to allow a school to remain in a lower division because of demonstrated lack of success in a specific sport.
Some schools won't be impacted much, if at all.
There were only a handful of administrators from surrounding schools at Thursday's meeting. Most of the area schools will attend an athletic dicussion meeting set for April 30 in Bluffton,
St. Wendelin Athletic Director Donene Smith doesn't think the new rules will affect the Fostoria-based private school that much. St. Wendelin's enrollment is too small to move them up a division in any of the team sports even with the multiplier.
Schools like Findlay, which are already firmly within the enrollment range of Division I in all sports, will not be affected as well.
Area schools that will likely be most affected are Hopewell-Loudon, Patrick Henry, Columbus Grove, Ottawa-Glandorf, Upper Sandusky, Fostoria, Riverdale, Carey and Bluffton who occasionally go back and forth between higher and lower divisions in many team sports.
But perhaps no school in Ohio will be impacted as much as Toledo Central Catholic.
According to Toledo Central Catholic assistant principal and athletic director Bill Axe, all 80 freshmen and 85 varsity and junior varsity football players at the school would be subject to the multiplier. That is because none live in Central's designated attendance zone which would be that of the nearest public high school.
"I have many issues with this. There is no school, no school in Ohio that will be hurt worse by this than Central Catholic," said Axe, who is also a member of the OHSAA Board and was one of the more vocal administrators at the meeting.
"Most of you probably know this part III of the competitive balance came about as an 11th- hour deal. It was a way to get split tournaments off the ballot. Whoever it was who sat in the cloak of darkness and worked this out, specifically said I'll do anything that might pass because we are afraid split tournaments are going to pass and we as the OHSAA doesn't want that.
"When you do something at the 11th hour, before a deadline, you get a piece of poorly manufactured law. Now in athletics we're living this."
A complete listing of this year's OHSAA referendum items are available online at: http://www.ohsaa.org/news/board/2013-14RefItems.pdf
Subscribe to The Courier.