COLUMBUS – The Ohio High School Athletic Association’s competitive balance plan, which member schools passed through referendum vote in May 2014, will begin during the 2017-18 school year, OHSAA Commissioner Dr. Dan Ross has announced.
Activating the plan in the fall of 2017 will coincide with the start of the OHSAA’s next two-year enrollment cycle and also will allow for additional time to test the roster data collection software.
Roster data in the OHSAA’s six multiple-division team sports (soccer, volleyball, football, basketball, baseball and softball) will be entered into the system by schools during the 2016-17 school year and will be used when schools are placed into divisions for the 2017-18 school year using enrollment data from the Ohio Department of Education.
Initially, the OHSAA planned to collect roster data during the current 2015-16 school year and begin the plan during the 2016-17 school year.
“Waiting to implement competitive balance with the next two-year cycle makes sense and will give us more time to test the software and train our schools,” Ross said. “We are very close to finishing the software and starting to test it. As we have said all along since the first competitive balance plan was proposed in 2011, this is a journey and we are all learning as we go. And this isn’t just a software project. The different ways that kids make their way onto school sports teams is constantly changing and we have to keep up with that while building the roster software at the same time.”
Ross said that when the software is ready, the Competitive Balance Committee and the OHSAA Board of Directors will provide input. The OHSAA staff and OHSAA field representatives then will visit conferences and schools to help train school administrators on how to enter rosters and assign those student-athletes based on their enrollment or residence background.
Historically, the size of a school’s enrollment was the only factor in determining its tournament divisional assignment. The competitive balance plan, which will affect all schools (public and non-public) in those selected sports, will add additional modifying factors to enrollment counts based on each sport-specific roster and is dependent upon where the student’s parents reside for public school students and/or the educational system history for non-public school students.
The OHSAA’s Competitive Balance Committee was formed in 2010 in response to a growing number of public schools that believed many non-public schools had an unfair advantage in postseason tournaments due to the larger geographic area from which non-public schools draw and the concern that the number of state championships won by non-public schools is much higher than the percentage of non-public schools within the OHSAA membership. The OHSAA thinks that public and non-public schools should participate in tournaments together and that non-public schools should not be placed into separate divisions or tournaments. That position was affirmed by the majority of member school principals in the 2014 referendum vote.
Additional OHSAA sports could be added to the competitive balance plan at a later date.