Another big vote faces OHSAA members

The quest for competitive balance in Ohio high school sports just won’t go away despite being voted down repeatedly. It’s actually back again and this time, a group of administrators means business.

After failing each of the last two springs to get something done, that same group of Wayne County administrators is back at it again as their desire to close the gap between the number of regional and state titles won by private and public schools has intensified.

The OHSAA listened to its membership the last two springs and put together a Competitive Balance Committee to help solve issues that were popping up almost yearly in the team sports with the private schools basically dominating the landscape.

However, the idea was shot down because a lot of administrators, who vote on the bylaws, basically didn’t understand all of the factors and math involved, which included tradition, open enrollment reach and the number of students on free and/or reduced lunch.

The bylaw change that the OHSAA membership will consider this spring isn’t nearly as complicated. The latest petition, which was filed with the OHSAA on Nov. 30, will have schools voting whether or not to establish completely different divisions for private and public schools.

Yes, you read it correctly. If the vote is passed, the 2014-15 school year could create a brand new way to crown state champions.

We concede that there is an issue in competitive balance between private and public schools. But, we don’t agree that separation of tournaments is the correct route to take to fix the problem.

Actually, we’re totally against the idea of creating two different tournaments.

First and foremost, it’s not as if private schools win every championship in every sport every year. Last weekend, it was a split between public and private schools at the state football tournament.

Secondly, there’s a strong vibe around the state that many of the private schools would decide to leave the OHSAA.

That creates possibly the biggest problem for schools. You think public schools have it tough now competing? Well, what’s going to happen when the private schools break away and have absolutely no rules to follow? There’s a chance they could raid the public schools of good athletes and create more schools that are geared toward sport specific schools like some of the basketball academies that are popping up around the nation.

Thirdly, there’s a huge logistic issue for dates and locations of tournaments.

Finally, if a school has a legitimate chance at winning the state championship, wouldn’t it want to have to beat the best teams possible? To me, separating the tournaments waters down the titles to a degree.

The idea of ‘to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best’ should still resonate in today’s society.

We understand that the administrators in Wayne County and in other parts of the state are looking out for the best interest of their student-athletes. And, rightfully so because that’s what they’re paid to do, but at some point, isn’t enough, enough?

The OHSAA has voted twice in its history about separate tournaments and it’s failed miserably both times. The votes for competivie balance were fairly close and we believe if more adjustments are made and a better explanation of the process is provided that’s the way to go.

There should be some sort of system in place. Maybe utilize a multiplier of some sort, but to separate the tournaments isn’t the right thing to do.


The OHSAA’s Board of Directors held its last meeting of 2012 this past Thursday in Columbus.

The OHSAA began talking about how the 2013 football finals are going to be run. A decision on whether Thursday-Saturday or Friday-Sunday will be utilized is expected to be made at the January meeting. It’ll be interesting to see if any of the other weeks of the tournament are affected or if they’ll just keep them on Friday and Saturday.

The movement to add triple jump to the state’s track and field lineup appears to be on hold. Despite a movement from the OATCCC, the board only has one member supporting the addition and there needs to be two before a vote can be taken.


Two members of the Division IV state runnerup Red Devils have received additional post-season and post-game accolades.

Senior wide receiver Jerrid Marhefka, who set an all-division state record with 272 receiving yards, was recognized by as one of the top performances of the weekend nationally.

Meanwhile, the honors continue to pour in for junior linebacker Michael Ferns. The Michigan commit was named a Buckeye Bluechip Underclassmen by the Touchdown Club of Columbus. The club will honor all of its award winners with a dinner in February.


On behalf of The Times Leader Sports Department, I’d like to express my deepest condolences to the family of former River High assistant football coach Tom Shuller. Tom died last week after a bout with cancer. He coached for several years on the Pilots’ football staff.


  • BETHANY COLLEGE announced late last week that it intends to play Mt. Union in a home-and-home scenario on the football field in 2014 and 2015. The Purple Raiders will visit the Bison campus on Sept. 6, 2014 and the Bison will return the trip to Alliance the following the season.
  • CINCINNATI MOELLER won its eighth state title in school history last Saturday against Toledo Whitmer. The Crusaders were once again led by Spencer Iacovone, whose parents, Dominick and Lisa, are Ohio Valley natives. Iacovone, who is headed to Marshall University to play baseball, triggered the Crusaders’ attack with 224 yards of offense. He was an efficient 15-of-19 passing for 161 yards and a score. He also ran for a touchdown and 63 yards on 11 totes. For his effort, he was named Most Valuable Player of the game by SportsTime Ohio. It marks the second state title in as many seasons for Iacovone. He was a standout on the Moeller baseball team, which won the D-I title in the spring.
  • BRENT WALTON, who is a standout football player at Pickerington Central High School in suburban Columbus, was named first-team all-Ohio Capital Conference and honorable mention all-Central Distrct. He led the Tigers in rushing yards and touchdowns this past season. Walton’s dad, Brian, played football at Magnolia, and his mother, Missy Schau, is a St. Clairsville graduate. Walton has grandparents living in both Barnesville and St. Clairsville.
  • STEUBENVILLE SENIOR Charlie Keenan will continue his wrestling career at Kent State University next year. Keenan was a Division II state runnerup last winter.

Staskey can be reached via email at or at