The Ohio High School Athletic Association's announcement late last week that it was tackling the decades-old debate regarding the competitive balance among public and private schools sent shockwaves throughout the state.
A proposed bylaw will be voted on by 829 high schools during a 15-day period beginning May 1.
If passed by a majority, the bylaw would alter the way the OHSAA groups its schools in eight sports — football, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, girls volleyball, baseball and softball.
Rather than divide schools by enrollment figures only, divisional alignment would be determined by what the OHSAA calls an "athletic count" based on a three-part formula.
The formula to determine each school's "athletic count" would be affected by school boundaries for public and non-public schools, socioeconomic factors dictated by the number of free lunches given, and tradition factors.
Including the championships won by Hartley and Watterson, non-public schools won five of the six state football titles and 19 of the 27 total state team championships awarded by the OHSAA during the 2010 fall season.
Private schools comprise 12 percent of the OHSAA's membership.
The changes could bump successful programs at private and some public small- and medium-sized schools up to higher divisions. The OHSAA has yet to site specific examples regarding any potential changes, but it might not have an effect on schools already in Division I.
The tradition factor would be determined by state championship game appearances, state tournament appearances and regional finals appearances.
"It's almost as if you're being penalized for being good," St. Francis DeSales (Columbus) football coach Ryan Wiggins told the Columbus Dispatch. "What you're doing is taking people who are more successful and creating obstacles for them."
If approved, implementation of the formula would begin no later than the 2013-14 school year and would be determined every other year by the Board of Directors.
OHSAA senior staff members are expected to provide details of the plan at meetings throughout the state in April. Examples also are expected to be listed on the OHSAA's official Web site in the coming days.LONG-TIME VOLLEYBALL COACH RETIRES
Mary Howard, who is the state's all-time leader in victories in girls volleyball, is retiring after 35 years according to the Akron Beacon Journal.
Howard previously led Archbishop Hoban (Akron) to four state championships and has coached at St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron)
since 2000. Her career record is 631-232, and she is a member of the Ohio High School Volleyball Coaches Association hall of fame.McCOY STEPS DOWN AT MARION-FRANKLIN BOYS BASKETBALL
In the midst of his 13th season, Marion-Franklin (Columbus)
boys basketball coach Orlando McCoy suddenly stepped down Jan. 11 for what the school's athletics department called "personal reasons."
McCoy led the Red Devils to City League-South Division championships in 2006 and last season. Marion-Franklin has one of the state's top recruits from the 2012 class in junior post player Elijah Macon