Lakewood St. Edward defeated Wayne 45-35 in the Division I high school football state championship at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

OHSAA begins implementation of Competitive Balance Plan

• The first implementation of the landmark Competitive Balance Plan for sports by the Ohio High School Athletic Association began on Monday. The process will continue through August.

Member schools received their base enrollment data for grades 9-11 (as of last Oct. 31). These are the numbers that will be used in conjunction with the new two-year enrollment cycle that will be announced in spring and implemented this fall. Schools have three weeks to appeal those numbers.

In order, the OHSAA board of directors will approve similar data — and adjust if applicable — that will determine divisional breakdowns for fall sports (April 6), winter sports (June 1) and spring sports (Aug. 3) for the 2017-18 school year.

Competitive Balance is an effort to “balance the playing field,” as OHSAA Commissioner Dr. Dan Ross often has said. It’s a multi-tiered numeric formula that is applied to students who don’t reside in a designated public school district. Those numbers will determine which postseason division a team is assigned.

It twice was voted down by school principals before being approved in spring 2014. Its implementation was delayed while software was being developed and to coincide with the new two-year enrollment cycle.

A lopsided number of state championships in all sports during a 10-year period by private schools initiated the Competitive Balance movement by a small group of OHSAA member principals. That was a documented account of a festering dilemma: The perceived advantage of private schools that could draw students from limitless boundaries and public schools that were limited to students in their districts only.

The OHSAA has said it expects to continually tweak the process.

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