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Sunday, December 28, 2014
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Published: Monday, 5/20/2013

OHSAA vote leaves lots of questions

BY DAVE HACKENBERG
BLADE SPORTS COLUMNIST

Musings for a Monday morning, with some instant email feedback on Sunday’s column regarding the Ohio High School Athletic Association, the defeat of its competitive balance referendum, and the possibility of an upcoming petition vote that could create separate state championship tournaments for public and private schools:

Interesting column, but you left it unfinished. You said there would be headaches and a mess if the private schools broke away from the OHSAA, but that you didn’t have the space to go into it. How about finding some? — Larry.

First of all, it’s an extreme scenario. I don’t know that it could or would ever happen. Until it did, it’s probably not worth a lot of space.

But if the private schools, upset over being segregated in split tournaments, hit the road and took 132 schools out of the fold, the OHSAA could counter by saying that regular-season games against nonmember schools would have a reduced value in the football computer playoff formula or in tournament seeding for other sports.

That would discourage public schools in the OHSAA from scheduling nonmember private schools. The privates might have to travel all over the state and maybe out of state to fill their schedules against like-sized schools. What would happen to leagues like the Three Rivers locally that is a combination of public and private?

It’s unlikely it would ever to come to that, but if it did, it would be messy.

I laughed when I saw the references to Catholic schools that “often entice premier athletes” and to public schools “that lose countless students/athletes to neighboring private schools.” If you’re going to talk about Catholic schools recruiting, then use the [darn] word. — Mike.

Was I talking about recruiting? I think there are a lot of athletes, especially in Toledo with the financial state of the public schools’ sports programs, who opt for private schools because of better opportunities. I imagine there are students who make the same decision for academic reasons. I think there are Catholic parents who prefer their kids, athletes and nonathletes alike, get a Catholic-based education.

Now, do I think some Catholic schools in our area recruit athletes? I’m not naive. I also suspect there are public high schools in our area that play fast and loose with the rules too. It’s not a closed shop.

This is a bit off-topic, unless you’re suggesting there is some public school resentment and that it may have played a role in voting down competitive balance while possibly looking ahead to a split tournaments vote. I agree.

My alma mater, Lima Central Catholic, draws about 80 percent of its students from the Lima City Schools, where all three of its elementary schools are located. The school, however, is in the would have been treated as if 80 percent of its students were from “out of district.” If the school were across the street, it would have been in the Lima City Schools district. An official at the OHSAA admitted that there are no provisions in the proposal for adjustments, appeals, or basic fairness. — Ron. Shawnee Local district and it

As I said, the plan wasn’t perfect. In some cases, it probably was unfair. I don’t have a better answer, especially to this question.

Here’s some food for thought, though. Last season, 199 schools, including Lima CC, played in the Division III boys’ basketball tournament. In the event of a split into separate public and private tournaments, there are only 132 private high schools period, regardless of size, in Ohio. That would be an interesting bracket.

The athletic director at our local high school said the OHSAA could impose a new [competitive balance] system without any vote by the schools. Why doesn’t it just do that? – Kristen.

Your AD is correct. The OHSAA commissioner said he and the board of directors hesitate to do that on such a major issue. I would insert here that the OHSAA abhors making rulings that might face legal challenges. Majority rule is much cleaner. But if the split tournament proposal picks up steam, the association might be forced to create an alternative.

Contact Blade sports columnist Dave Hackenberg at: dhack@theblade.com or 419-724-6398.



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