Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Thoughts on Competitive Balance

After two defeats with his competitive balance proposal and both times trying to "push" his proposals through, Dan Ross has finally backed off for while. Now all I hear is the proposal to divide private and public schools. After the emotions pass, I question if this is best for everyone. With everything on the table, high school sports should take a deep breath and stay with the current system.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association is hurting big time for money. If the competitive balance system was put into place, how many more people do they hire to run the program? Of course, they just hired a financial officer, so that may help. How would you tie in free and reduced lunches? Why would you penalize winning programs?

With the economic problems that families are having, fewer people are being able to pay the tuition to go to private schools. Of course, there are all forms of scholarships given to private school students, but even those programs are being fewer and fewer. More of the top athletes are staying at their home school.

Also, Catholic families are not as large as they used to be back in the day. I do not know the exact numbers, but I was told this by some private school coaches. Smaller families equals lower enrollment to private schools. Not today, of course, but this tend could also have effect on the dominance of private schools.

Defending Delphos St Johns High School. Some of the recent excitement about private schools versus public schools came after St Johns hammered Shadyside in the state championship game. The mainstays of the St Johns team were three year starters and were good. Shadyside was just totally outmatched.

Last year Pickerington Central was beaten soundly by Cincinnati St Xavier the second game of the season. However, in the playoffs, Pick Central beat St Xavier. Pickerington Central just found a way to win in the second game. Although Cleveland St Ignatius beat Toledo Whitmer, the game could have been closer.

Teams just have to keep getting better. For high school football, I really believe the level of competition between public and private is narrowing. I have no exact proof, but I just sense it with all of the football games I attend.

Do you realize the amount of recruiting that would go on if the the privates and the publics separated? No holds barred. Could you imagine what would take place in the Cincinnati area alone? Private schools would have a wide range of athletes from which to select .

Last fall I was told by someone involved with the competitive balance committee that public schools would be allowed to schedule private schools if there ever was a split. Legally, I question that, but, on the otherhand, private school schools in Toledo could go across the border into Michigan to play quality opponents. Cincinnati would play Kentucky and Indiana schools. This year Moeller only plays four Ohio schools, and they are all private.

Maybe one solution would be to have "open enrollment" state wide. Once a player begins his sophomore year, he would be committed to that high school. If he transfers, he has to sit for one calendar year.

These are just some ideas thrown out there. Please do not hammer me on the message boards. Truthfully, I really believe  that high school football in Ohio has to stay the course right now. I am sure there is a solution, but please no knee-jerk reactions or muscling. In our "everybody gets a trophy" thinking, we need to somehow work with what we have now. Maybe sometime changes can be made, but leave "winning traditions" out of the equation. Good luck.

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