Competitive Balance is up to the schools

The information is out there.

What the schools intend to do with it is what remains to be seen.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association is once again doing its part to make sure its membership has all of the necessary information to cast a vote on the upcoming referendum issues that will be mailed out to the schools on Monday.

Area schools have multiple chances this past week to hear from OHSAA officials as its annual athletic discussion meetings were held in both Cambridge and New Philadelphia.

As was the case a year ago at this very meeting, the hot-button topic amongst the 11 issues facing the schools was “Competitive Balance” and how the state is trying to do its part to curb the dispartity amongst public and non-public schools in team sports.

The biggest change – not counting the addition of the seventh division in football – is the way the tradition factor is calculated. Last year it was pitched every two years – same as the counts – but since that was kind of a stiff penalty for a school that might have just had one good group of student-athletes come through the school, the committee revised it to four years.

That was big because schools like Shadyside, Steubenville and now St. Clairsville in boys’ basketball could have been affected by that tradition factor. It’s probably much more likely that those schools wouldn’t be affected because it would be year-after-year to reach at least the regional.

The maximum percentage to be added on in the tradition factor is 16 percent and it was pointed out at the meeting that only one school in the state would face that significant of an increase.

We attended the meeting in Cambridge on Tuesday where River, Bellaire, St. Clairsville, Union Local and Edison were also present from this side of the Eastern District. We know that Bridgeport and Buckeye Local had representatives at the New Philadelphia meeting.

OHSAA Assistant Commissioner Roxanne Price was the speaker at the Cambridge meeting. The most impressive part of her speech – or I should say her presentation – was that she strictly laid out the facts.

Not one time during the speech did she lean one way or another when talking about competitive balance. There was absolutely no politicing.

Unfortunately, I was surprised with how few questions were posed.

The thing to keep in mind that I was surprised when I heard from Price is the “Competitive Balance Committee” is here to stay. The issue isn’t going away even if its shot down again by membership. They’ll continue to look at it, tweak it and continue to work with it. The OHSAA wants as fair and equitable playing field as it can get without splitting the public and non-public schools into separate tournaments.

I’ve looked at this several times from several different ways. I just don’t see how any school – public or non-public – in the Eastern District can vote “No.” The enrollment figures in our district are dropping at an alarming rate and, to be brutally honest, the schools need this to pass if they’re going to continue to have hopes of making noise in the postseason.

Hopefully, all of the schools return their ballots. They’re due back in Columbus by May 15 and the results will be posted to the OHSAA website the very next day.


  • EARLIER THIS week, the OHSAA announced its plans to host a “preseason” cross country meet at the National Trail Raceway, which is the site of the OHSAA State CC meet, on Aug. 18. The meet will be divided into boys and girls will run the actual state meet course, giving teams an opportunity to survey the course they’ll run the first Saturday in November. The space for the meet is limited, however, and schools wishing to participate should have their athletic director use his or her MyOHSAA account to declare their intentions to participate by May 10.

The race will host approximately 250 runners and there will be two races for boys and girls. One will be a scored team race and the other is an open race. Schools may enter a maxiumum of 10 runners in each race.

  • THE NATIONAL Federation of State High School Athletic Associations announced on Friday that the stalling penalty in wrestling has been altered. If a third stalling call is issued by an official, the non-stalling wrestler will be awarded two points and will have his choice of position as well.