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Referendum to separate OHSAA publics and privates set for Spring 2013

COLUMBUS — Ohio High School Athletic Association members will have their say on whether or not to separate postseason tournaments for public and non-public schools.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association acknowledged receiving a petition from member schools to place a referendum item on the organization’s spring ballot that would create separate postseason tournaments for public and non-public schools in the state.
Wooster Triway superintendent Dave Rice, who along with several other Wayne County administrators spearheaded the petition drive to separate the tournaments, released a statement this week that said: “The intent of the petition is to create a competitive balance and fairness for a majority of the student-athletes in Ohio.”
In order for a referendum item to be placed before member schools for a vote, a petition must be signed by 75 principals, including a minimum of five principals within each of the six OHSAA athletic districts, and submitted to the OHSAA office between Aug. 1 and Dec. 1. Voting on an issue would take place between May 1-15, 2013.
OHSAA officials, in a press release from today’s Board of Directors meeting, noted that the petition drive had enough signatures for the referendum vote to move forward.
This year’s proposal will be the third time OHSAA member schools have voted whether or not to split the tournaments. There were proposals to separate state tournaments between public and private schools in 1978 and 1993. Both plans were easily defeated. The 1978 proposal lost by an 84-16 percent margin; more than two-thirds of member schools voted down the 1994 separation plan.
Also each of the last two years, competitive balance proposals aimed at addressing the issue have failed by narrow margins. The original competitive balance proposal, which would have classified schools for postseason tournaments based on their open enrollment status, the school’s socioeconomic makeup and the history and success of specific sports at the school, failed 332-303 during the 2011 referendum period.
A tweaked version of the original competitive balance plan lost last spring 339-301.
In other OHSAA news:
• The Board of Directors began discussing how to implement a new football playoff format with the seventh division being added to the playoffs next season. The board is expected to discuss the various options at its January meeting.
• Five schools were penalized for committing OHSAA rules infractions. None were from Northwest Ohio.
• The Ohio Association of Track and Field’s proposal to add the triple jump in track and field was again grounded. One board member supported it, but the proposal was never voted on because no other board member seconded the motion.
• The regional and state tournament draws for girls and boys basketball were held and will be posted at OHSAA.org.