Schools vote down ‘Leveling the Field’ OHSAA referendum

Published 11:02 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS — Ohio school administrators have narrowly voted down a referendum designed to level the postseason playing field between public and private schools in eight sports.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association said Tuesday the measure fell by a margin of 332-303.

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“We believe this would have been a fairer way to assign schools in team sports to their tournament divisions,” OHSAA commissioner Dan Ross said.

Had it passed, divisions in boys football and baseball, girls volleyball and softball and boys and girls soccer and basketball tournaments would not have been based strictly on enrollment, as they are now.

A school’s division would have been decided by factors including added enrollment based on expanded boundaries and how good its teams have done in recent tournaments.

The OHSAA came up with the formula to make more schools competitive. The referendum was being watched closely by several other state athletic associations.

The issue can still be revisited, since a petition signed by 75 school principals, including a minimum of five within each of the six OHSAA athletic districts, would prompt a revote in a year.

The other 14 topics addressed by the referendum all passed. A total of 827 ballots were mailed, with 644 ballots returned (78 percent).