OHSAA opposed to separate postseason tournaments

From staff reports

The state’s governing body of high school athletics is now publicly opposed to separating postseason tournaments between public and non-public schools, Ohio High School Athletic Association Commissioner Dan Ross wrote in a one-page memo dated Tuesday that was recently sent to member schools.

The memo represented the views of the OHSAA Board of Directors and the OHSAA Competitive Balance Committee in light of the pursuit of balance between public and non-public schools.

The memo was supplemented by a two-page document which detailed the history of competitive balance issues in Ohio, outlined the consequences of separate tournaments and reinforced the OHSAA’s objectives as an organization.

In the memo, Ross asks member school principals not to sign a petition being circulated around the state that would place a referendum item on next’s year ballot.

If the petition receives 75 signatures, with a minimum five from of each of the association’s six districts, the matter of separating the tournaments between public and non-public schools would be voted upon by member schools in May 2014.

Separate postseason tournaments is a potential product of a long history of pushes for more competitive balance among OHSAA member schools, particularly when viewing the breakdown of state championships won between public and non-public schools. The document supplementing Ross’ memo says that non-public schools, which comprise 17 percent of OHSAA member schools, have won 43.9 percent of state championships the past 14 years.

If tournaments were to be separated, consequences listed in the memo included the increased difficulty for each public school to win state championships, increased travel costs during tournaments for schools, increased costs to operate tournaments, the possibility of non-public schools forming their own association to govern interscholastic athletics, loss of corporate sponsorship opportunities and the potential for the Ohio General Assembly to take control of Ohio’s interscholastic athletics, especially if non-public schools withdraw from membership in the OHSAA, which is voluntary.

Ross also wrote in the memo that the OHSAA is not opposed to solving the competitive balance issue between public and non-public schools and that the association will introduce a solution in January.