By Rob Todor
The concerned looks on the faces of area high school administrators before Thursday’s OHSAA Athletic Discussion meeting didn’t exactly fade away afterwards.
The main topic of discussion at Roby Lee’s Restaurant centered around the Competitive Balance proposal that Ohio high school principals will vote on over the next two weeks.
Very few questions were asked about the controversial proposal, which could greatly affect the landscape of high school sports in the state for years.
OHSAA assistant commissioner Jerry Snodgrass conducted the meeting and did his best to explain the proposal, which consists of four basic parts:
Each high school’s enrollment figures, as supplied by the Ohio Department of Education through its Education Management Information System (EMIS). Those enrollment numbers count the number of students in grades 9-11 as of October 2010 are will be used for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years.
Non-public schools will have either 8 or 10 percent multiplied to their basic EMIS numbers, based on their enrollment policy. Non-public schools that have limited boundaries will have the 8 percent multiplier. Those with no boundaries will have 10 percent multiplied.
Public schools with state-wide open-enrollment will have a 6-percent multiplier, and public schools with adjacent district open enrollment with have a 4-percent multiplier.
Schools that do not have open enrollment, and public schools with open enrollment that have lost more students than they’ve taken in will not have any multiplier added.
A Socioeconomic factor, which will count the number of students in grades 9-12 on the free lunch program, multiply that by 10, and subtract that number from the enrollment.
The final factor is the most controversial — the Tradition Factor. Schools that appear in a state championship game, regardless of the outcome, will have a 10 percent multiplier added for each appearance. Schools that make the state semifinals will have an 8-percent multiplier, and schools that play in regional final will have a 6-percent multiplier.
These factors will be considered for each sports team on a separate basis.
One aspect of the proposal that wasn’t well-publicized before is that, if passed, the OHSAA Board of Directors can make adjustments to the multipliers without going back to the schools for approval.
Salem High School athletic director Greg Steffey attended the meeting and wasn’t entirely satisfied.
“I don’t think it’s clarified enough,” said Steffey. “There’s still too many open-ended questions.”
However, Steffey said he hopes the measure passes, because “it’s a start.”
“It’s a huge issue. There’s too many public schools that have a great team and they get to the regional level and face a parochial school that’s drawing players from all over.
“I don’t know if this is the perfect solution, but I think getting it passes, then [allowing] the committee to tweak it and make it work is the way to go. I’m afraid if it doesn’t get passed it’ll just sit for years.”
Snodgrass said his message to administrators is to “trust the OHSAA.”
“It’s easy for a school administrator to look at only how this affects his or her school,” said Snodgrass.
“What we’re asking the schools is to look at the big picture, and to make a decision that’s the best for Ohio.”