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High school sports: Competitive balance proposal approved

After four attempts in the past three years to try and pass a competitive balance proposal, the vote was definitive on May 16.
With a total of 734 votes tallied, 411 high school principals in the state of Ohio agreed that the submitted proposal was a step in the right direction with competitive balance.
The measure aims to level the playing field between public and private schools. All schools will be subject to the factors of a formula, which will be applied to students in football, soccer, volleyball, boys and girls basketball and baseball and softball.
Im most proud that we were able to work together and come up with a solution that will create a better system than we currently have, said OHSAA commissioner Dan Ross, because it looks at how schools secure their enrollment of their students participating in interscholastic athletics.
The competitive balance legislation will begin during the 2016-2017 season. The formula is based on what sport an athlete competes in, where their parents reside and the length of the students attendance in the districts school system.
Ross attributes the passage on the fourth try to better communication with OHSAA schools on concerns with previous competitive balance proposals, as well as education. The OHSAA held a handful of Townhall Meetings throughout the state in recent weeks in an attempt to give on-hand examples of how the proposal would work, if passed.
Avon head football coach Mike Elder says that with the passing of the competitive balance, at the end of the day, it wont truly matter.
My perspective on this is that youre never going to truly have competitive balance, Elder said. I think theres always going to be a distinct advantage that goes to schools that are able to draw from outside of their community and that goes for parochial schools as well as public schools who have open enrollment.
Elder also added that competitiveness determines on how much hard work a team is willing to put in order to win a state championship.
For me personally, every year is a new year. At Avon, our kids work harder than anybody around, Elder said. When you get that special group of kids, you can compete with those schools.
The question is, can you do it year in and year out. I really dont bother myself with it; I just kind of worry about taking care of Avon and making us the best team we can be and let the cards fall where they may in the playoffs.
Midview head football coach DJ Shaw also chimed in about the competitive balance vote being passed.
I really dont see it affecting us Division I wise and thats the biggest thing about it, Shaw said. It seems like theres no good answer for competitive balance for Division I because St. Edward and St. Ignatius are so big. You throw in a Midview and an Amherst and Avon Lake, those schools are competing with schools that are two to three times their size.
Shaw added that Midview principal Tom Faska, who has educational experience in Maryland, said that in the state of Maryland, public schools and private schools are two separate entities in regards to athletics. Shaw said he is unsure if that would necessarily be ideal for competitive balance.
Thats the reason why I think this thing has been brought up for years and years and years is because some public schools were thinking it wasnt fair that a private school can control their enrollment and they can get players from all over the place and create these all-star teams, Shaw said. Its actually a good thing that its in discussion now and that their taking it seriously because I think there are some issues that need to be addressed, and theyre taking the first step in the right direction The biggest thing is making sports competitive and make it the best situation for our kids.
Amherst girls basketball Kevin Collins said that he understands why the competitive balance proposal has been in discussion, but is uncertain if itll necessarily affect the D-I schools.
As a basketball and baseball coach, I definitely see where this needs to be addressed, Collins said. As a D-I school, I really dont see how it will impact us other than some D-II private schools possibly moving up to D-I.
Ross is open to changes for competitive balance. If a school proposes an idea for modifying competitive balance, the suggestion will be given to the OHSAA committee.
Our work is just beginning, Ross said. The Competitive Balance Committee will continue to clarify any unanswered questions and our staff will put all the wheels in motion to finalize the electronic roster collection system.
Digital First Medias John Kampf contributed to this story.

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