Archive for the ‘sports general’ Category

OHSAA Considers New Formula for Tournament Divisions

January 13, 2011

This is a proposal at this point and will be submitted to the member schools for a vote this spring (from

OHSAA Board of Directors Tackles Competitive
Balance Concerns
Referendum Issue is First Step in Possible Changes on How Schools are
Placed Into Tournament Divisions
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Acting on a recommendation from the Ohio High School Athletic Association
(OHSAA) Competitive Balance Committee, the OHSAA Board of Directors today unanimously placed a
new bylaw up for vote of the OHSAA membership that would be the first step toward possible changes on
how schools are assigned to tournament divisions. The proposed new bylaw, which will be voted upon by
OHSAA member schools during the annual referendum voting process in May, states that “each school
shall be placed into tournament divisions based on its sport-by-sport athletic count.” Schools would not be
separated into tournaments for public schools and non-public schools, nor would a “multiplier” be applied to
non-public schools to increase their enrollment, which a few other states utilize. Rather, the enrollment
numbers for all schools (both public and non-public) would be entered into a three-part formula to establish
their “athletic count.”
The proposed bylaw goes on to say that the formula for determining “athletic counts” and to which
sports the athletic counts shall be applied will be determined every other year by the Board of Directors and
will be listed in the OHSAA’s General Sports Regulations. If approved, implementation of the new formula
would begin no later than the 2013-14 school year. In addition, a standing committee would be formed to
monitor the effectiveness of the athletic count formula and to recommend to the Board of Directors any
changes in the weight to be given to any one or more of the factors in the formula.
At the present time, all schools are placed into tournament divisions based strictly on enrollment
figures that the schools submit to the Ohio Department of Education. The proposed three-part formula to
establish athletic counts would require the OHSAA to also include a school boundary factor (how
students are obtained – non-public schools with no boundaries; non-public schools with limited boundaries;
public schools with statewide open enrollment; public schools with adjacent open enrollment, and public
schools with no open enrollment), a socioeconomic factor (the number of free lunch participants) and a
tradition factor (state championship game appearances, state tournament appearances and regional
finals appearances). The school boundary and tradition factors could increase a school’s enrollment while
— more —
OHSAA Board of Directors Action -2-2-2
the socioeconomic factor could decrease a school’s enrollment. The tradition factor is the only one of the
three that would be implemented on a sport-by-sport basis. Once all three factors are applied to the
enrollment count, each school will have a sport-by-sport “athletic count” for purposes of tournament division
“The issue of competitive balance has been discussed for years not only in Ohio but also in other
states,” said OHSAA Commissioner Daniel B. Ross, Ph. D. “Ohio is unique in that our public schools have
the option to approve open enrollment policies, but, at the same time, there’s no question that most nonpublic
schools in the state have no geographical boundaries in which they can secure students and the
result has been a disproportionate number of championships won by those schools.
“The meetings we have conducted with the Competitive Balance Committee have been both
productive and professional, and I believe the proposal from the group is fair and equitable and we will see
some leveling of the playing field.
“Competitive balance is a complex issue,” Ross continued. “The formula recommended by the
committee is not as complex as it sounds, nor is it as complex as any of the viable alternatives and the
unintended consequences of those alternatives.”
The Board’s current plan is to propose that athletic counts only be utilized in the sports of football,
soccer and volleyball in the fall; basketball in the winter, and baseball and softball in the spring.
Consideration will be given to add other sports in the future.
The OHSAA Competitive Balance Committee was formed in January 2010 in response to concerns
raised by a group of school administrators in northeast Ohio who conducted a study that showed that 43
percent (146 of 340) of the state championships in selected team sports between 1999 and 2010 have
been won by non-public schools, even though non-public schools make up only 17 percent of the total
membership of the OHSAA. The OHSAA Competitive Balance Committee met numerous times throughout
2010 in an attempt to identify competitive balance factors and to propose changes that would bring the
competitive inequities into balance. The Committee was comprised of 29 school administrators and
coaches from across the state from public and non-public schools both large and small along with members
of the OHSAA Board of Directors and administrative staff and representatives from both the state
superintendents and state principals associations.
In the near future, the OHSAA will place on its website examples of how the athletic count formula
could look when applied.

I think its a laudable goal to try and make the divisions more “fair” than simply dividing the schools into x number of equal sized chunks based soley on enrollment figures.  But I would be curious to see the exact formulas.  While I can see the utility of a socioeconomic formula or a competitive history formula I would hope they carry less weight than the enrollment status of the school, especially the competitive history formula.  My alma mater, East Liverpool, was state runner-up in baseball in 1969; do we get pushed into a larger division because of a randomly good ball club my parents’ senior year?  I think it would be useful to only use more recent history, say the past 10 years or so.  Of course, its a give that 4 teams will make the state semifinals, and 8 teams the Regional finals in a given year in a given sport in a given division.  A school might have a group of kids that are really good at, say, volleyball, and then they graduate, and then the next biannual determination of divisions rolls around and a group of kids that aren’t nearly as good at digging and setting is bumped into a higher division.  So that formula could cause unintended consequences.

The socioeconomic factor certainly makes sense.  A public school in, say, Upper Arlington, has obvious advantages on a public school of the same size in Cleveland public.  But again if this formula is too strong it can create unintended consequences.

The school boundary formula is another way of weighting private schools without coming out and saying they are weighting private schools.  Mind you, I’m not saying its a bad thing to weight things.  I think it manifestly obvious the advantages of being able to recruit kids (and trust me, it happens, I think that point is beyond argument) as opposed to simply playing the hand your dealt in terms of student body talent pool.  Again, however, you don’t want to make the formula too strong.  There are certainly seasons where Youngstown Ursuline football can compete with anyone.  The same is not true of, say, Steubenville Catholic Central.

Bottom line is I am not opposed to this proposal.  I suspect, however, that the devil is in the details.


Frozen Four Coming to Pittsburgh

July 13, 2010

The 2013 Frozen Four will be played at the Consol Energy Center:

Spain Can “Basque” In Glow of World Cup Victory

July 11, 2010

After their hard-fought 1-0 win over the Netherlands, getting a goal in the 116th minute and just four minutes shy of it going to penalty kicks.  They used the same formula that had served them well after a 1st game group stage loss to Switzerland; don’t let the other team score and get a goal soemwhere.  Its not exactly that their defense was airtight today; the keeper had to make a couple saves that were either very good and/or very lucky.  But won they did and the people of Madrid and Barcelona can be very proud in their team tonight.

Looking back at the tournament as a whole I think South Africa did a good job hosting the show.  I never got any closer to Johannesburg than Pittsburgh so of course I am basing this largely on media reports, but it seems that things ran rather smoothly.  Unless, of course, the vuvuzuelas were too much for you.  As per usual with a World Cup, sadly, the main story moving forward to Brazil 2014 and beyond is how can the officiating be improved.  Far too many horrible calls of various forms for an event of this magnitude.  As I have blogged previously I don’t think instant replay really fits the game of soccer, the continuous action and so forth.  However I see no reason why we can’t have two on field referees, goal judges, and perhaps technology also judging the goals.  It would also be great to see something resembling consistency on what constitutes a bookable offense and what doesn’t.  Its one thing to have variable strike zones in baseball, quite another variability on what warrants a yellow card considering that 2 yellows in the tournament forces a guy to sit the next match.

Also, a plea to Africans; lay off Suarez of Uruguay; smart play, it was what he had to do, in the 120th minute of a tie game any footballer in the world would have done the same thing.  Maybe the rule in that case should be automatic goal, but it isn’t.  Maybe the Ghana player should’ve made the penalty kick.

Will FIFA Get It This Time?

June 27, 2010

By “it” I mean that entirely too often the talk surrounding a World Cup Final is the awful officiating, the blown calls, and not the beautiful acts of football that are displayed.  Sadly probably not, but the list of absurd misses has grown well beyond the tolerable zone.  At the risk of forgetting something there was the foul call that denied the US a clean win over Slovenia in the group stage, and just today a clear English goal that would’ve tied the game against Germany at 2 and Argentina being granted a lid-lifter on Mexico that was clearly offsides.

So what can FIFA do about it?  I am generally a proponent of instant replay; for example expanding its use in Major League Baseball to avoid the rare bad call like the Joyce/Galarraga perfect game incident.  I don’t want it in soccer because it just doesn’t fit the pace of the game, ie the continuous running clock, and I’m not anxious for games with 10 minutes of stoppage time.  But there are any number of other things that could be done.  Officials could be positioned behind the nets to act as goal judges like in hockey, and they could also assist in making corner kick or goal kick type decisions.  The technology exists to put a microchip in the ball that would alert officials that it has crossed the goal line, somewhat like hawkeye technology in tennis.  Why do we have only 1 on field referee for 22 players?  American football has many more officials for a somewhat smaller field, albeit a game where more happens away from the ball.  Still, a 2nd on field referee would allow for having a guy positioned both in front of and behind the play on both ends.

Of course, the best solution would be to hire officials that don’t have glaring moments of apparent blindness.  There were precisely 4 people in that stadium that didn’t see Lampart’s shot cross the goal line.  The sideline officials have exactly two jobs, and one of them is to notice offsides; that Argentine was clearly offsides and clearly played the ball on the way in.

But will FIFA change anything?  Probably not, simply because they don’t have to.  Soccer is truly a world game, this is the world championship of that game.  The games are being poorly officiated, as per usual.  But literally billions are watching anyway.  It even manages to get people in the United States to care; there was a 35% dip in volume of trading on the New York Stock Exchange during the US v Algeria game.  Until that changes and people actually avoid watching the World Cup because the level of officiating has compromised the integrity of the game beyond people’s threshold of tolerance, FIFA has no motivation to make necessary reforms.  A pity, as these athletes deserve better.

2010 World Cup TV Schedule in The United States

January 28, 2010

Thanks to my friend Kevin for e-mailing this link to me.  In the below article is a table showing the complete schedule for all 64 World Cup matches; most are on ESPN with a few weekend matches on ABC and half of the final group stage matches on ESPN2 (both 3rd games in the same group are played at exactly the same time to try and minimize chicanery).  Group stage matches will be at 7am, 9:30am, and 2pm EDT, with the 7am time slot dropped when it goes to 2 match start times per day late in group stage forward.  Also very potentially handy to those of us that work daylight M-F type schedules, all matches will be re-broadcast that evening on ESPNClassic, and for those of you with internet access at work matches will be available on


Paul Brown, Great American Put Hamilton County in Financial Bind

December 26, 2009

From yesterday’s New York Times:

Of course, a lot of ancillary revenue would have been lost if the Bengals and/or Reds had not gotten new deals and had chosen to bolt town for greener pastures.

The American Spirit in Action

December 9, 2009

Like they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure:

I guess there is such a thing as free money after all.

Oh to be Playing England Now that the World Cup is Here

December 4, 2009

The official draw is out:

I like the US draw. England won’t be easy but I think its doable, and even if we lose that match we should be able to beat Algeria and Slovenia to advance out of group stage. Mexico and France are probably happy to be drawn with host South Africa. On the whole things are fairly evenly distributed other than Group G which has Brazil, Portugal, and everyone’s darling Ivory Coast (along with North Korea). It should be a fun tournament come this summer.

Pots and Seeds

December 2, 2009

Fear not, Buckeyenewshawk’s blog is still gardening free. This is merely a link for those curious about the group stage draws for the 2010 World Cup which will be announced Friday:

Frankly I can’t help thinking there is a better way to do this. While maintaining geographic diversity in all the groups is a laudable and logical goal, the current system practically ensures random variation will create Groups of Death and relatively weak groups. A relatively minor tweak to the current system could mitigate that. Rank the teams in each pot. Then when a Group is assigned a Pot 2 team, lets say its a relatively highly seeded team say that the Pot 3 team for this group will be relatively middling or relatively weak. Then whichever subset is still remaining draft a team correspondingly from Pot 4. That way you get a Group that is comprised of Seed, strong Pacific Rim, weak Southern Hemisphere, middling Europe, or Seed, weak Pacific Rim, middling Southern, strong Europe or etc. Also I wouldn’t necessarily seed the host country. Guarantee they make the Final sure but seeding a weaker host creates a potentially weak group. It should make for a fairer World Cup Final.

Ohio High School Football Finals

November 29, 2009

As per usual there will be 3 games each at Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium and Canton’s Fawcett Stadium. Here is the exact schedule:

Friday, December 4
Division III – 11:00 a.m. – Massillon
(14-0) Youngstown Cardinal Mooney vs.
(11-3) Columbus St. Francis DeSales
Division V – 3:00 p.m. – Canton
(10-3) Youngstown Ursuline vs.
(13-1) Coldwater
Division II – 7:00 p.m. – Massillon
(12-2) Maple Heights vs.
(12-2) Cincinnati Winton Woods

Saturday, December 5
Division IV – 11:00 a.m. – Canton
(14-0) Chagrin Falls vs. (14-0) Kettering Archbishop Alter
Division VI – 3:00 p.m. – Massillon
(14-0) Norwalk St. Paul vs. (14-0) Delphos St. John’s
Division I – 7:00 p.m. – Canton
(13-1) Cleveland Glenville Academic Campus vs. (12-1) Hilliard Davidson

Good luck to the lucky dozen that made it this far!