Competitive balance adjustments that the Ohio High School Athletic Association is instituting for boys basketball and girls basketball beginning with the 2017-18 season will impact a handful of both public and non-public schools.
On June 1, the OHSAA approved divisions for both sports as well as for wrestling, which is not one of the sports subject to competitive balance.
Approved in 2014 after failures the three previous years, competitive balance adds a modifier to the enrollment numbers that annually have determined divisional classifications for football, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls volleyball, boys basketball, girls basketball, baseball and softball.
The only area boys basketball program that will move up from Division II to Division I is Whitehall, a public school, but its transition to the state’s largest division is because of its boys actual enrollment increasing from 331 to 392.
The biggest changes in boys basketball will take place in Divisions III and IV, where Africentric, East Knox, Harvest Prep, Newark Catholic and Wellington all are moving up to the larger division. Harvest Prep, Newark Catholic and Wellington are non-public schools.
Last winter, Wellington was the state runner-up, Africentric and Harvest Prep were district runners-up and Newark Catholic was a district semifinalist in the state’s smallest division.
Cleveland Heights Lutheran East, which beat Wellington for the Division IV state title, also is moving up to Division III.
Further adding to central Ohio’s depth in Division III will be Heath and Johnstown, which are moving down from Division II. Heath was a district runner-up and Johnstown was a district semifinalist last season.
Horizon Science and Amanda-Clearcreek are moving from Division II to III as well.
The only Central District school to move from Division III to II will be Utica, while the only area program to drop from Division III to IV will be Centerburg.
Worthington Christian, a district champion whose enrollment of 142 was adjusted to 196 because of competitive balance, remains in Division III.
In the Central District, there will be 46 teams in Division I, 22 in Division II, 25 in Division III and 17 in Division IV next winter compared to 44 in Division I, 26 in Division II, 18 in Division III and 21 in Division IV last season.
In girls basketball, Hartley, Eastmoor Academy and Whitehall are moving to Division I after previously competing in Division II.
Because of competitive balance, Hartley’s enrollment of 291 was adjusted to 363 and Eastmoor’s enrollment of 332 was adjusted to 349.
Hartley was a district champion and Eastmoor was a district runner-up last winter.
Like its boys program, Whitehall’s overall girls enrollment is the reason it’s moving up.
After having a previous enrollment of 306, the school’s actual enrollment grew to 340 and its adjusted enrollment after competitive balance is 341, which means it will be one of the smallest schools in Division I.
Heath and Sparta Highland are moving up from Division III to II, Johnstown is moving down from Division II to III and East Knox is moving up to Division III from IV.