By David Fong
COLUMBUS — Three Miami County football schools will be moving up to play in bigger divisions this fall — two as a result of increased student enrollments, one as a result of the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s new “Competitive Balance” formula, which was officially rolled out Thursday for several fall sports.
Beginning this fall, Miami East — formerly a Division VI school in football — will be moving up to Division V. Both Troy Christian and Covington — Division VII schools — will be moving up to Division VI. Additionally, the Covington volleyball team will be moving up from Division IV to Division III. No Miami County schools were affected in either boys or girls soccer, the other two fall sports affected by the Competitive Balance formula.
Both Miami East and Covington are on the move based on increased enrollments as measured by the Ohio Department of Education’s Education Management Information System. Troy Christian, meanwhile, is going up in divisions as a result of the new Competitive Balance formula.
The Competitive Balance formula takes into account not only actual enrollment, but a series of variables that are added on for students on a given team’s roster who do not reside within a designated school district or did not begin their freshman year of high school within a designated school district.
The number of players on the Troy Christian football team’s roster that either do not reside within the district or did not start ninth grade in the district were enough to produce a number that pushed the team up from Division VII — where it would have played before the Competitive Balance formula was introduced Thursday — up to Division VI.
“This is a journey that we have been on for more than eight years to get to this point,” Dr. Dan Ross, OHSAA Commissioner, said in an OHSAA press release. “Today’s approval of the fall sports divisional breakdowns is the result of countless hours of work by our staff and our member schools. For the first time in OHSAA history, enrollment isn’t the only factor in determining a school’s division in certain sports. But the journey isn’t over. We will study the results of this first go-around and discuss with the Competitive Balance Committee and the board.”
Of the 718 schools that play football in Ohio, 75 schools moved up to a higher division due to competitive balance and/or a higher base enrollment number. In volleyball (790 schools), 51 moved up a division. In girls soccer (522 schools), 24 moved up a division, while in boys soccer (571 schools), 30 moved up a division.
A number of fall sports — boys and girls golf, boys and girls cross country and girls tennis — will not be affected by the Competitive Balance formula. Other than the three football teams and one volleyball team, no other fall sports teams in Miami County will be moving up or down in divisions in 2017.
“The committee studied the competitive balance factors and we listened to the feedback from our member schools,” Dr. Ross said, noting that the first three Competitive Balance Proposals were voted down by the membership in 2011, 2012 and 2013. “As we’ve said all along, our goal is to keep public and non-public schools together in the same postseason divisions, but Competitive Balance will help place those schools in the correct division based on the makeup of their roster. We are very pleased that this is now off the ground and we can see the results. We’ll continue to gather feedback and see what changes, if any, the committee wants to propose to the membership to vote on in the future.”
Winter sports divisional breakdowns will be presented to the board at its June meeting and spring sports will be presented in August.
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong