The Ohio High School Athletic Association is in a no-win situation.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association is in a no-win situation.

Next month, principals of OHSAA schools will vote on various items, but the one that will be most closely monitored is the proposal dealing with "competitive balance."

In an attempt to even the playing field for schools, the organization's board of directors has devised an "athletic count" formula to help determine the postseason division in which a school will compete. According to the OHSAA: "The formula for calculating the athletic count includes factors related to how students enter the school (boundary factor); the ability of students to access additional resources for successful competition (socioeconomic factor); and the success of a specific program over a long period of time (tradition factor)."

Sounds fine, except those numbers will not be a cure-all. Really, competitive balance addresses an age-old, hot-button issue. From the dawn of postseason tournaments, there has been an outcry by some to create separate divisions for public and private schools.

Simplified, the argument is that private schools can pick and choose from their area's best athletes while public schools only can compete with the kids who live within their boundaries. The OHSAA always has avoided a private-public revision.

With approval, the "Competitive Balance Formula" would begin in the 2013-14 school year for football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball.

Using football as an example, in the past 12 seasons in the sport's six divisions, public schools have a 73-71 edge in state titles. To those who believed private schools had dominated the category, that's not the case. In fact, the six divisions were split down the middle with both public and private schools winning three of the six titles in 2002, 2003 and 2005. In 2004, public schools won four of the six championships.

Public schools also held a 4-2 advantage in 2011. Private schools won five titles in 2010 and four in both 2008 and 2009.

Another interesting figure: Over the same 12-year period, private schools had a 26-8 edge head-to-head in title games against their public counterparts. This figure only includes championship games between public and private schools.

One of the changes, no matter if competitive balance passes or fails, will be the addition of a seventh football division. The sport has had six divisions since 1994.

The biggest change here will be Division I will include only the largest 72 schools in the state, based on boys enrollment. The remaining schools will be slotted into the other six divisions, with approximately 108 schools in each category. This change will begin in fall 2013.

Many have complained about the large enrollment range of Division I teams. Schools such as Cincinnati St. Xavier (1,164), Mason (1,154) and Cleveland St. Ignatius (1,121) have more than double the number of boys enrolled as numerous area schools that will drop to Division II. But maybe a seventh football division wouldn't have been necessary if several local districts had only one high school instead of two or three.

Much like the often-maligned Bowl Championship Series in college football, the competitive balance proposal is a step in the right direction – the BCS isn't perfect, but it's better to have a national championship game than letting a poll determine the champion. Further changes to the BCS format are being discussed.

Is change needed to the postseason in Ohio? Probably, but the only change that will truly make all public schools happy will be to split the postseason for public and private schools. But that would have private schools crying foul, especially considering the results from the football championships over the past 12 years.

Good luck, OHSAA. You'll need it.