(5-24-18) According to a al.com story St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Mobile, Alabama filed a federal civil lawsuit Thursday afternoon against the Alabama High School Athletic Association, alleging that the new AHSAA competitive balance plan penalizes some private school sports teams for being successful and puts their athletes in harms way.

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The 56-page filing describes the new AHSAA rule as:

  • “arbitrary, discriminatory and dangerous”

labels the AHSAA conduct in the matter as:

  • “arbitrary and reckless”

the rule was:

  • “motivated by a bare desire to harm and disadvantage a politically unpopular group”

AHSAA and its executive director, Steve Savarese

“The Competitive Balance Factor was unanimously approved by the AHSAA Central Board of Control on Nov. 13, 2017, upon the unanimous recommendation of a Classification Committee comprised of representatives from both public and private schools,” Savarese’s statement said. “I am very disappointed that the process to resolve differences that all member schools agree to upon becoming members was not satisfactory for St. Paul’s Episcopal School. Questions regarding the litigation filed by St. Paul’s Episcopal School should be addressed to AHSAA’s legal counsel.”

Stateline area states also have competitive balance plans in place, but all have different looks to them. The Illinois (IHSA) plan is most like Alabama’s in that both states only have a plan in place for private schools.

Indiana (IHSAA) and Ohio (OHSAA) also have plans, with Ohio’s the most elaborate in detail with numerous factors figured in to the formula. The one thing they both have in common is that it effects all members of their association, not just private schools.

State associations will be keeping an eye on the situation in Alabama, the fact that the lawsuit has been filed in a federal court could make it a national issue depending on how the court rules.

Other area states with a competitive balance plans:


IHSA By-Law 3.170 requires a 1.65 multiplier be applied to the enrollment of every non-boundaried school. Waivers of the 1.65 multiplier are granted to individual sport and activity programs on a yearly basis. A sport or activity program at a particular school is not eligible for an automatic waiver for the current school term if, over the course of the previous four school terms, the program (as a team) has accomplished any of the following:

  •    1. Won a state tournament trophy.
  •    2. Qualified for the state final tournament (the final weekend of play).
  •    3. Accumulated four points based on highest title attained each season (sectional title=2, regional title=1).

All other sport and activity programs are granted an automatic waiver of the 1.65 multiplier.

Success Adjustment

A non-boundaried school that has won two trophies in the same class over the past four school terms, and at least one trophy in the past two school terms, is subject to the success adjustment. The following sport programs were moved up one class (indicated in parentheses). Schools that would have been placed in a particular class even without the success adjustment are not shown.


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OHIOCompetitive Balance Resource Center

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