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Proposed OHSAA policy has little effect on area schools

April 18, 2012
By SETH STASKEY - Times Leader Sports Editor (sstaskey@timesleaderonline.com) , Times Leader

The Ohio High School Athletic Association is certainly doing its due diligence when it comes to trying to find a "competitive balance."

The first step was adding a seventh division to the football tournament. The second step, however, isn't quite as simple because it's going to take more than a majority vote inside the OHSAA's Board Room at its headquarters in Columbus.

The OHSAA membership will have a chance to, once again, weigh in on the issue of "competitive balance" next month after the motion was shot down in a fairly close vote last spring. A majority vote would significantly alter the way enrollment figures, which are used to determine divisional assignments for post-season tournaments in the team sports where no individual title can be won, are counted. The sports of track, golf, cross country, wrestling, swimming and tennis aren't included.

As for adding a seventh division, we feel it was much needed. While it doesn't affect any of the schools in our coverage, per se, because we don't have any Division I schools, it's a move we agree with.

The reason for the move was simple and while it will obviously enhance the OHSAA's revenue in the sport with the addition of 32 more tournament spots, the move was made with the schools in mind. There was a huge discrepancy of school sizes in Division I.

For instance, the smallest school in Division I football last season had 494 boys, while the largest enrollment was 1,164. That's a difference of 670 boys, which is truly astronomical especially when you consider the gap between the other five divisions combined is 459 students.

There had to be something done to help curb that gap and we feel the OHSAA took a correct step in adding the seventh division.

Now, it's the membership's turn to take the correct step. We know some area schools voted against the motion last time, but I am convinced they didn't review it closely enough.

The tradition factor scared away many from voting yes. That part has been adjusted to now one appearance in a regional or state tournament doesn't affect your status. You've got to make four appearances in an eight-year cycle to have it count against your athletic count figure.

Obviously, and unfortunately, our area of the state is suffering in terms of economics. Well, the Competitive Balance proposal aids those schools through the socio-economic factor.

And maybe the most important realization is that the schools' enrollment figures in our area are low and they're solidly in their division, meaning this won't have that big of an effect.

Area schools will have a chance to learn more about the Competitive Balance issue and all of the OHSAA's referendum items during their spring discussion meeting, which is set for Tuesday in Cambridge.

On Monday, the OHSAA posted to its website (ohsaa.org) what the numbers would look like for every school in the state if the proposal is passed and was instituted for the 2013-14 school year.

Only Steubenville and Shadyside would have a tradition factor figured into their enrollments for football. Shadyside's actual enrollment is 92 boys, but its "athletic count" number would be 89 even with a regional tradition factor implemented.

Because of the addition of the seventh division, many of our schools are going to be in a different division numerically, but it's going to be basically the same collection of schools.

Steubenville and Buckeye Local would be in Division IV. St. Clairsville, Harrison Central and Union Local would be in Division V. Martins Ferry, Bellaire, Barnesville, Monroe Central and River would compete in Division VI. Shadyside, Bridgeport, Beallsville and St. John Central are ticketed for Division VII.

On the OHSAA's website, there's a breakdown of divisions for all of the team sports.

BOSTON MARATHON

In searching through the results of the world's most well-known and highly regarded road race, we stumbled across six area natives who completed the 26.2 mile jaunt around Beantown.

The top Eastern Ohio finisher was River High product Sarah Blatt, who ran at the United States Coast Guard Academy. She finished in a solid time of 3 hours, 33 minutes, 50 seconds.

Steubenville Central product Daniel Schlich, who was an all-Ohioan last season in track and field, is currently a member of the West Point Marathon Team as he's a student at Army. He was just two minutes behind Blatt.

Kristina Tomlan, who was a multi-sport standout at Bellaire, completed yet another Boston Marathon. She ran the race in 4 hours, 18 minutes, 18 seconds.

James Cochran Jr. of Bellaire has become a regular in Boston. He finished the race in 5 hours, 29 minutes and 4 seconds.

Sean Flanagan - a 25-year-old from Valley Grove, W.Va. - finished in 3 hours, 4 minutes, 54 seconds. He was 734th overall.

David Kozusnik of Wheeling finished the race in 3 hours, 17 minutes, 36 seconds.

Tom Rownd, of Wheeling, battled through the tough, hot conditions for a time of 4 hours, 45 minutes, 38 seconds.

Staskey can be reached at sstaskey@timesleaderonline.com

 
 

 

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