(3-26-17) You could see it coming after the Ohio State High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) completed their boys basketball State  semifinals in Columbus this past weekend. In the four class championship games, six of the eight schools that qualified were private schools and two of the games would feature private schools only. At the end of the night three of the four State championships were won by the Private schools.

Add to that from just a week ago, three of the four girls state titles were also won by private schools.

2017 OHSAA Girls and Boys Basketball State Champions


  • DI – Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame
  • DII – Kettering Archbishop Alter
  • DIII – Gates Mills Gilmour Academy
  • DIV – Berlin Hiland – **


  • DI – Massillon Jackson – **
  • DII – Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary
  • DIII – Cleveland Villa-Angela St. Joseph
  • DIV – Cleveland Heights Lutheran East

** denotes Public School

It didn’t take long for twitter to light up during the boys finals.







There might be several reasons for Private schools being able to ‘build’ programs. The OHSAA’s transfer rules allow a student-athlete to participate at his/her new school with out sitting out an entire season.  This by-law is relatively new to Ohio.

the student shall be ineligible for all contests (including all scrimmages, preview/jamboree/Foundation game) until after the first 50% of the maximum allowable* regular season contests in those sports in which the student participated (participation being defined as playing in a contest) during the 12 months immediately preceding this transfer have been competed.

Public school advocates will point to the Ohio state voucher program that allows for help with tuition to attend an Ohio Private school. On the other hand Private school advocates will point out the pretty liberal open enrollment for public schools, making it easier for students to transfer to another school system and with that take the state money that follows them.

At the boys tournament this week, both of the all-Private school finals were under 9,000 in paid attendance.  The entire tournament was down over 12,ooo fans for the entire weekend. Public school advocates blamed the lower numbers on the private schools.

Lurking in the background is the new competitive balance plan that treats all members the same and does not have a success factor in place like some states do.  Ohio does not have a multiplier for private schools.  It will be interesting to follow all of this as the years move on.

Related articles:

Keeping An Eye On OHSAA Boys Basketball State Finals Attendance Numbers