The push for a bylaw revision regarding how schools are placed into tournament divisions — also known as competitive balance — has failed for the third consecutive year, the Ohio High School Athletic Association announced May 16.
The latest proposal failed 327-308. The past two proposals failed 339-301 a year ago and 332-303 in 2011.
This year’s proposal would have been implemented in 2015.
“It was 48.5 percent to 51.5 percent, which makes it the closest one we’ve had so far,” commissioner Dan Ross said. “We’ve talked about this being a journey, and it certainly has been. I was hoping it would pass, but I knew it would be very close because this is a passionate issue.”
While the previous two competitive balance proposals featured a sport-by-sport athletic count based on tradition, socioeconomic factors and school boundaries, this one centered on school boundaries.
Each school would have been required to submit team rosters to the OHSAA indicating each student’s name in grades nine through 12, along with each student’s district school of residence.
Every student on a team's roster whose residence was outside the school’s attendance zone would have been multiplied by an out-of-district, sports-specific factor.
Sports that would have been affected were football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball.
According to Ross, a survey will be taken of member schools to study why the latest proposal failed.
A competitive balance committee also will reconvene over the coming months, he said.
On March 22, the latest competitive balance proposal replaced a referendum item that would have forced schools to vote on whether to separate public and non-public schools for postseason tournaments.
“If you think about this, it was 10 schools (that determined the voting difference),” Ross said. “We had 635 schools that voted. We’ll bring the committee back and decide if this is something they want to tweak and make a recommendation to the board of directors in probably August or September.
“From our conversations with the group that has promoted separation of tournaments, that issue is still an option that is out there.”
Transfer bylaw approved
The OHSAA also announced a change to its transfer bylaw.
Effective June 1, an athlete who elects to transfer must sit out the first 50 percent of the maximum allowable regular-season contests in any sport in which the student participated the previous year.
It also reduces the number of exceptions for immediate eligibility.
The measure passed 346-288.
“We’ve had a lot of situations where there was a feeling that a youngster missing a whole year was irreparable harm,” Ross said. “I think this reduces it a lot. Youngsters that are transferring that didn’t participate (in a sport) before will be immediately eligible.”