OHSAA set to expand postseason tournaments

Yaneek Smith

Press Sports Editor

For years, coaches and fans alike have called for reform and/or expansion in the postseason tournaments, arguing that things are often unfair for certain schools.
Now, the Ohio High School Athletic Association is doing something about it.
Just a few weeks ago, the OHSAA Board of Directors unanimously approved a proposal that will utilize a new formula to determine how many divisions there will be for tournament play.
Boys and girls soccer will have five divisions while girls volleyball, boys and girls basketball, softball and baseball will increase to seven divisions.
The changes will take effect in the 2024-25 school year.
Doug Ute, the OHSAA executive director, discussed the board’s decision as an attempt to level the playing field of the tournaments.
“It’s the right thing to do for the student-athletes who have been competing at this disadvantage,” Ute said in a press release. “For too long, the largest schools in our divisions have been so much larger than the smaller schools in the same division, which has resulted in many schools accepting that they realistically have little chance at making a run in the tournament. In some of our sports, there have been more than 200 schools competing for a state title in that division, which is significantly more than what most other states do, and what we do in many of our own sports.
“We know that there is a lot of work to do in the coming months to prepare for additional divisions this fall. We have already started working on the details to accomplish this, but one thing we know for sure is that having two or three more state champions in these sports doesn’t water them down or diminish winning a state title. And we anticipate that this new format will be revenue neutral, since every school makes the tournament already.”
For girls volleyball, soccer, basketball, softball and baseball, the 64 biggest schools would compete in Division I. The next 64 largest schools would be placed in Division II, and the rest of the schools would be placed in the five remaining divisions, dividing them up as evenly as possible.
Each year, the Board of Directors will still have the authority in determining how many divisions will be used that school year, but the proposal calls for the following scale to be used to guide the board’s decision on the number of divisions for girls volleyball, football, soccer, basketball, softball and baseball. Lacrosse, field hockey, ice hockey and boys volleyball would not change from their current division numbers:
• 199 or fewer teams: 1 division
• 200 to 299 teams: 2 divisions
• 300 to 399 teams: 3 divisions
• 400 to 499 teams: 4 divisions
• 500 to 599 teams: 5 divisions
• 600 to 699 teams: 6 divisions
• 700 and more teams: 7 divisions
Some may remember the competitive-balance measures that took effect in 2017-18 for baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball and volleyball. This helped to level the playing field for these sports by moving certain schools up a division or two based on things like the amount of students attending a certain high school that did not come from the school district’s “feeder” schools.
The competitive-balance measures have helped to create a more just environment for high school sports.


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