OHSAA puts balance plan into playing field for first time.

OHSAA Commissioner Dr. Dan Ross spearheaded an effort to pass and implement Competitive Balance. FILE
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OHSAA Commissioner Dr. Dan Ross spearheaded an effort to pass and implement Competitive Balance. FILE

The landmark initiative to “level the playing field” for the first time was part of the formula that was used to determine divisional alignments for all fall sports, as documented in an Ohio High School Athletic Association release.

Of particular interest was the effect it would have on adjusting football teams from their previous two-year divisional status. Football has the most divisions – seven – of any sport. A quirk in Competitive Balance is its non-effect on super-sized Division I teams: there is no higher division to ascend to.

“This is a journey that we have been on for more than eight years to get to this point,” OHSAA Commissioner Dr. Dan Ross said in the release. “For the first time in OHSAA history, enrollment isn’t the only factor in determining a school’s division in certain sports. But the journey isn’t over. We will study the results of this first go-around and discuss with the Competitive Balance Committee and the board.”

Football teams could move up or down just one division, no matter their adjusted numerical value. There were 22 teams that are affected and moved from their previous divisions. Most notable were Miamisburg bumping up to D-I, Belmont bumping up to D-II and three of four Greater Catholic League Co-Ed North teams being adjusted. Carroll moved up to D-II and Alter and Chaminade Julienne were bumped up to D-III. Badin also was elevated to D-III, as was Dunbar.

Midwestern Athletic League football powers Coldwater and Fort Recovery also were bumped. Coldwater, a multiple state D-V champ, was overtaken and dropped to D-VI, where Marion Local, another MAC state power, remains. Also Fort Recovery, just two seasons removed from a D-VII state title, moves up to D-VI.

Changes were as abundant in soccer and volleyball, because of the fewer divisions in those sports. Among the changes was the Carroll boys, a D-II state power, to D-I. Carroll won four D-II state titles from 2008-12.

Previously, divisions were determined and revised every two years based only on student enrollment grades 9-11. That process remains in place with enrollment counting as of Oct. 31, 2016 (and documented by the Ohio Department of Education and its Education Management Information System). This time the new Competitive Balance formula also was factored.

Also new, annual roster counts could affect sports that are impacted by Competitive Balance. Possible division changes will be announced each spring for those sports.

The formula’s multiplying factor varies depending on the sport. A student’s numerical value increases if that student does not reside in a designated school district or did not begin their ninth-grade year in the designated school district. Those combined roster numerical totals determine divisional status.

Competitive Balance was a hot-button topic and essentially pitted private schools against public schools. A disproportionate amount of state championships won by private schools compared to public schools was its basis.

Previous versions of Competitive Balance were not approved by OHSAA member principals until spring 2014. There was a one-year delay in implementing the process to coincide with the normal two-year divisional adjustment and to complete software.

Ross championed Competitive Balance. Dr. Ross immediately took part in a statewide conference call with media following the announcement.

Divisional breakdowns for winter sports will be announced in June and divisional assignments for next spring’s sports will be released in August.


FALL SPORTS

For the new divisions of the 2017 and ‘18 seasons see:

• DaytonDailyNews.com

• Journal-News.com

• SpringfieldNewsSun.com