In 1991 shortly after Centerville lost to Cleveland St. Ignatius in the Division I state football championship game, then-coach Bob Gregg declared the Elks the D-I public school champions.
His team — which actually led 21-9 at halftime — was the last of the big public schools still standing. And it was one the few across all divisions. That year, four of five state champs were private schools and two more private schools were runners-up.
That seems to be the case more often than not. And while some thought Gregg was just whining over a loss, he was on to something. Something that the Ohio High School Athletic Association and member schools finally caught on to in May 2014 when the competitive balance issue passed for baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball and volleyball.
The purpose is to level the playing field between public schools — which mostly have athletes from only within its own district — and private schools, which enroll students from all over.
This is the only fair product the OHSAA could have presented, at least where football — the money sport — is concerned.
A formula determines how much a school’s enrollment is adjusted up or down, which in turn determines which division that school is in. It has to do with an initial enrollment count in grades 9-11, and three tiers based on how each student arrived at each particular school.
It’s weighted more toward private schools because of their ability to enroll more students.
Akron Archbishop Hoban had a male enrollment of 318. The competitive balance number added 136 to its enrollment meaning for the second-straight season, it will play in Division-II and not Division-III. By the way, Hoban won the state title last season playing up a division. It had won the previous two D-III titles.
<Sarcasm font> Obviously the competitive balance affected Hoban.
Some ADs are calling it a joke because a school could face another that has twice as many students or more in the tournament. Public schools are also affected because some recruit and manage to get away with it while others have open enrollment and allow students from other districts to enroll. And most of the time its for athletic reasons, not academic reasons.
While I can understand their frustration, something had to be done.
I live in the Centerville school district and get mailings from Chaminade-Julienne, in addition to Alter, which is basically the private school for Centerville and Kettering students, among others.
The Centerville district isn’t allowed to send mailings to students in other districts.
Also consider just football. In 46 years of holding state championship games — 243 in all — 118 titles were won by private schools, while 61 private schools finished second. Nearly half of the state champs were private schools. Add in the runners-up and 73.6 percent of the champs or runners-up were private schools.
I don’t begrudge the private schools their opportunity to play for a state title. But they aren’t playing by the same rules as (most of) the public schools.
Now everyone is on a level playing field.
Let the best teams win.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.