The OHSAA sparked emotion in more than one direction April 7 when it denied a proposal from the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association to allow a two-week period of skill instruction in May.

The OHSAA sparked emotion in more than one direction April 7 when it denied a proposal from the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association to allow a two-week period of skill instruction in May.

According to the official OHSFCA release that has been posted online by several news outlets, including JJHuddle.com, the proposal asked for two weeks of football instruction during the final two weeks of May. The timeframe for the workouts would have been a maximum of 10 hours and would not have exceeded more than two hours per workout.

Also as part of the proposal, athletes participating in an OHSAA spring sport would have been required to complete their season before participating in the football workouts.

For spring sport coaches such as A.J. Auld of the Dublin Jerome High School boys lacrosse program, the OHSAA's unanimous rejection relieves the continuing pressure for prep athletes to specialize.

"I encourage my guys to be multi-sport athletes because it's good for a number of reasons," Auld said. "I know the OHSAA promotes all sports and not just football. If they approved this, why would they just allow one sport to be able to do that? Why wouldn't they allow basketball to do it? I have a good relationship with the football coach at Jerome, and us sharing players has been mutually beneficial. I know I can't simulate the intensity (during a practice) that one of my players can have going up against one of their rivals on a Friday night, and the same is true in the other direction."

For others such as Brookhaven's Steve Ayers, the OHSAA's decision to deny the proposal was "kind of disappointing."

In its official release, the OHSAA cited "concerns over the impact it would have on other spring sports, as well as the requests that would come from other sports."

The OHSAA indicated, however, that it is examining the possibility of expanding the 10 days of coaching currently permitted over the summer in all team sports.

Some of the nation's most recruited football states, including California, Florida and Texas, are among those that have some format that includes spring football practice.

"We really don't get that many days in the summer," said Ayers, who is an assistant football coach with the Bearcats and the school's head coach for wrestling and boys track and field. "Down south they all have spring football, and as a state it kind of puts us behind. It seems like another thing to hold us back. We kind of felt good that they were thinking about it. When coaches collaborate, they can work it out."

Among the reasons the OHSFCA created the proposal was a concern regarding AAU flag football programs and their influence on OHSAA-sponsored football.

In addition, it cited a lack of opportunity for Ohio high school football players to display their skills to college coaches during the May recruiting period.

"I know a lot of people might be against it, but obviously I'm a football coach and I'm also a football fan," Dublin Coffman football coach Mark Crabtree said. "Anything that can be done to promote the sport of football I'm in favor of doing. During the last two weeks of May, most of our players are doing absolutely nothing unless they're competing in a regional tournament in their spring sport, and those are the kinds of athletes that we'd want to be competing at that time.

"Football is the one sport that gets the short end of the stick because all of the other sports you can do year-round in some form. We're limited the most, yet it's the biggest sport with fans and them being fanatical about it."

•The OHSAA voted 6-3 to approve a proposal from the soccer coaches association to expand the girls soccer state tournament from two divisions to three beginning this fall. Girls soccer surpassed the 501-team benchmark during 2010.

Twenty-three teams from the Central District competed in Division II last fall, producing one district champion.

Although the OHSAA has not announced breakdowns by division, teams such as Worthington Christian (116 girls) and Wellington (77 girls) likely would be among those that would drop to Division III. Worthington Christian was seeded third for the district tournament and Wellington was seeded eighth last fall.

"That gives us a better chance once we get into the tournament," Worthington Christian athletics director Kevin Weakley said of his team's likely drop. "The challenge in Division II is that there are a lot bigger schools than us in it like Bexley and Hartley. When we made the jump to Division III with the boys, it helped us significantly."

Another effect of the increase in divisions is that schools such as DeSales and Watterson as well as some Columbus City Schools would drop from Division I to II.

DeSales and Watterson have been perennial powers in boys soccer while competing in Division II, but neither school got past the district semifinal round while competing in Division I in girls soccer last fall.