May 17, 2019 – COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio High School Athletic Association member schools passed all 24 proposed revisions to the OHSAA Constitution and Bylaws, Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass has announced. Voting ended at 4 p.m. Wednesday and was conducted completely online for the first time, with 804 of the OHSAA’s 815 member high schools casting their ballot (98.7 percent).

Twenty-two of the items were on the ballot were for high schools, while two items were for 7th and 8th grade member schools. The approved changes will go into effect August 1 unless otherwise noted. A simple majority approval by member schools required for a proposed amendment to be adopted.

Among the approved referendum items is a change to the process for collecting roster data for those sports affected by competitive balance. Beginning next school year in those specific sports, the designated students to be counted for competitive balance will be those on the school’s postseason tournament roster or who played in a varsity contest during the regular-season, while in football, the counted students will be all players on the roster in grades 10-12 along with freshmen who played in a varsity contest. In addition, Tier 2 is now increased to three (3) in football and seven (7) in soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball. More about competitive balance is available at:

Also announced Wednesday were the results of the District Athletic Board elections, which included 11 open position. (See link below.)

The OHSAA’s annual referendum voting and District Athletic Board election period is from May 1-15. Each member school has one vote, which is cast by the principal.

High School Voting Results:

Junior High School Voting Results:

District Athletic Board Election Results:

Review of the 2019 OHSAA Referendum Issues

High Schools
804 of 815 member high schools submitted ballots

Constitution Article 3-2 – Initial Membership (Add Note)
This adds a note to the beginning of the Article which says “Requirements for initial membership may be waived in the event that a public school district closes a current member school(s) and then reopens that school or multiple schools under different names and IRN’s. Participation opportunities for students attending the new school(s) shall be addressed within the business rules of the OHSAA as well as state law.”
Passed 764-43

Constitution Articles 3-2-1 and 3-3-1 – Membership (Modification)
This modification to the Constitution Article requires a non-member school in a multi-high school/7th-8th grade school district which seeks membership within the OHSAA, after having been a non-member for at least one year, to follow the requirements for initial membership as outlined in Constitution Article 3-2-3 for a minimum of one year BEFORE the Board of Education or similar governing body is permitted to add that school to its membership card. This would help ensure that the school is able to effectively transition and ensure all students are eligible during its first year of membership.
Passed 784-22

Constitution Article 3-3-2 – Continuing Membership (Modification)
This modification requires the superintendent or other administrative authority of a school system to alert the Executive Director’s Office when a school’s Information Retrieval Number (IRN) changes.
Passed 780-26

Constitution Articles 3-3-4, 3-3-5 and 3-3-6 – Membership (Modification)
This modification of requirements for potential new member schools and procedures for the Executive Director’s Office is more appropriate. Rather than requiring schools to compete in at least 50 percent of the maximum allowable regular season contests, schools shall be “encouraged” to compete in at least 50 percent of the maximum allowable regular season contests in individual sports (the requirement to maintain a schedule of a least half of the maximum allowable contests in team sports shall remain). If a school fails to meet the minimum sponsorship requirement, the proposed modification for a consequence would be removing a team from a tournament for the immediate ensuing sports season rather than the current sports season in which the failure occurs. The modification also proposes that the violating school’s probationary period shall be three consecutive sports seasons, thus requiring a school to forfeit just one school year of tournament participation. In addition, a note has been added that points out another Constitution Article clarifies the difference between probation of a member school and suspension.
Passed 716-89

Constitution Article 5-6-1 – Powers and Duties of the Board of Directors (Clarification)
This clarifies current practice where the Board of Directors is responsible for hiring the executive director and senior director of finance and conducting an annual review of those two positions.
Passed 791-15

Constitution Article 6 – Executive Director (Clarification)
This clarifies current practice where the Executive Director shall recommend to the Board of Directors all appointments of employees and conduct an annual review and/or evaluation of all employees (or designate another administrative staff member to conduct said reviews and/or evaluations).
Passed 795-11

Bylaw 2 – Delete Classification and Move the EMIS Section of 2-1-3 to Constitution Article 5-7-4; Move Organization to Bylaw 1 and Rename Bylaw 2 – Divisions and Tournament Assignments (Modifications)
This modifies the first two sections of this bylaw. Old Section 1 – Classification of Schools – contained just one bylaw (2-1-1) which pertained exclusively to classification, and that is used for governance purposes. Thus, this proposal moves the bylaw to Constitution Article 5-7-4, which already exists, and has added the pertinent information of Bylaw 2-1-4, which describes how the enrollment data are obtained. Also, this moves organization bylaws 2-3-1 , 2-3-2 and 2-3-3 to Bylaw 1, where they are more appropriate. In addition, this modifies Bylaw 2, Section 1 and makes it exclusively related to division assignments for tournaments.
Passed 784-22

Bylaws 2-2-2 and 2-2-6 – Additional Roster Count (Modification of the Competitive Balance Plan)
This modification is based on feedback where many in the membership believe the current system of counting all students in grades 9 through 12 in the Competitive Balance roster count is not a true representation of the actual students impacting OHSAA tournaments. Therefore, the proposal would have schools only submit roster data for those students on the tournament roster, plus any other student who participated in a varsity regular season contest, in the sports of soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball, and students in grades 10 through 12, plus any freshman who participated in a varsity regular season contest, in the sport of football. To compensate for fewer students being included in the roster count, the proposal would also raise the Tier 2 (sport specific) factor from 2 to 3 in the sport of football, from 5 to 7 in the sports of volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball and from 6 to 7 in the sport of soccer.
Passed 553-253

Bylaw 2-2-4 – Change of Tiering for Non-Enrolled Students (Modification of the Competitive Balance Plan)
This modification is also based on feedback where many in the membership believe the Tier 2 (sport specific) tier for non-enrolled students is not appropriate. Therefore, this modifies the tier for those students to Tier 1. These are students who live in the school district but attend a community, STEM or non-public school or are home educated. The effective date for this change is May 16, 2019.
Passed 636-170

Bylaws 2-2-4 and 2-2-5 – Tier for J1 Visa Students (Modification of the Competitive Balance Plan)
This modification is also based on feedback where many in the membership believe the Tier 2 (sport specific) tier for J1 Visa students is not appropriate. Therefore, this modifies the tier for those students to Tier 1. It is noted that this modification is only applicable for those students participating at a member high school in accordance with state law and would not change the tier for students attending Ohio schools on an F1 Visa.
Passed 624-182

Bylaw 2-2-5 – New Exception (Modification of the Competitive Balance Plan)
This modification adds an exception to Bylaw 2-2-5 for those non-public schools with a defined geographic boundary. Those non-public schools which assign students to a school based on the geographic location of the student’s parent’s residence will tier their students in a similar fashion to schools within a multiple-high school system and thus will not utilize the “feeder school” system that other non-public schools utilize. Students who should be assigned to a specific high school within this system but are provided a waiver to attend a different high school will be tiered a 1 or 2, accordingly. Schools within the Diocese of Columbus are currently the only ones that are afforded the opportunity to utilize this exception.
Passed 646-160

Bylaw 4-4-1 – Scholarship, Exception 3 (Modification)
This modification makes it clear that this exception can only be utilized when a physician issues a verification of the incident contemporaneously with the occurrence of the incident. The change also notes that if a school or district does not have an “incomplete” policy, this exception shall not be applicable to the student.
Passed 712-94

Bylaw 4-6-3 – Residence, Exceptions 1, 2, 11 and 12 (Modification – add Exception 2 and renumber)
The modification adds references to “guardianship” in Exception 1 to comply with the Ohio Revised Code upon which this exception is based. Also, the phrase “or any of its territories” has been added where applicable in Exceptions 1, 10 and 11 to reaffirm that the “United States” refers to all 50 states, the District of Columbia and all United States territories. For clarity purposes, the modification has split Exception 1 into two separate exceptions. In addition, it is noted that, even though a student may meet a residence exception, the student must meet ALL eligibility requirements, including transfer, if necessary.
Passed 774-32

Bylaw 4-7-2 – Inter-District Transfers (Clarifications)
This clarifies that community or non-public school students, who participate in one sport at their respective public school if the school they attend does not offer said sport, go back to his/her school to play any other sports must adhere to the transfer consequence. Clarification is also provided on the transfer consequence (50 percent of the maximum allowable regular season contests), noting that administrators need only look at the varsity schedule of the school to make such a determination.
Passed 772-34

Bylaw 4-7-2 – Transfers, Exception 9, One-Time Transfer into the Residential Public High School (Modifications added for Clarity)
This modification to Exception 9 clarifies that the exception is only available to students whose parent(s) has lived in the district for a minimum of one year and specifies at which school a student is permitted to use the exception within a multiple-high school district. The change also adds language to clarify the application of this exception for non-enrolled students.
Passed 758-48

Bylaw 4-7-3 – Transfer (Modification of the Waiver of the Mid-Season Consequence)
This modification allows students who experienced a legal change of custody or placement to not adhere to the mid-season transfer consequence if the school to which the student transferred is more than 50 miles from the previous school attended and it can be determined that the change in custody/placement was necessary due to action by Children’s Services or another similar government agency.
Passed 785-21

Bylaw 4-7-4 – Intra-District Transfers (Clarifications)
This clarification changes “circumstance” to “exception” to create more consistent language as outlined in Bylaw 4-7-2. This makes the requirements of inter-district transfers and intra-district transfers more consistent. This modification will also require the Affidavit of Bona Fide Residence to confirm a bona fide move and makes the bylaw consistent with the inter-district Exception 1 under Bylaw 4-7-2.
Passed 768-38

Bylaw 4-7-4 – Intra-District Transfer — Anti-Bullying, Intimidation, Harassment (New Exception) 
This exception tracks identically the exception found in inter-district Bylaw 4-7-2, Exception 7. It has been determined that there is a need for a superintendent within a multiple high school district or system to have this authority to transfer a student when there has been documented bullying, harassment or intimidation.
Passed 662-144

Bylaw 4-7-5 – Transfer, Poor Performing School (Clarification)
This clarification indicates that a student who uses a one-time transfer to enroll at a high school after leaving a poor-performing school may not return to the same poor-performing school without adhering to the transfer consequence.
Passed 618-188

Bylaws 4-7-6 and 4-7-7 – Intra-District Transfers (Clarifications)
The clarifications reflect the original intention of these bylaws in that the student’s reassignment shall result in enrollment and attendance at the new high school on the first day of school in the current school year.
Passed 775-31

Bylaw 4-7-8 – Transfer (Deletion)
This change deletes this bylaw since the current transfer bylaw makes it highly unlikely that a transfer student could play for one high school, transfer and then play for another high school once the tournament has begun.
Passed 778-28

Bylaw 4-9-4 – Recruiting, #8 (Clarification)
This clarifies that a rebuttable presumption of recruiting is only presumed for the first calendar year the coach is with the new school. Once that calendar year has passed, the school is no longer obligated to refute the presumption of recruiting unless specifically requested to do so by the Executive Director’s Office.
Passed 716-90

7th-8th Grade Schools
758 of 890 7th-8th grade schools ballots were submitted (85 percent)

Bylaw 1-6-4 – Team Membership (Clarification – for 7th-8th grade schools only)
This clarifies that a request to combine 7th-8th grade schools must be submitted annually prior to the start of each sports season.
Passed 617-141

Bylaw 4-4-5 – Scholarship, Exception 2 (Modification – for 7th-8th grade schools only)
This modification mirrors the change for high schools in Bylaw 4-4-1, Exception 3, in which the modification would make it clear that this exception can only be utilized when a physician issues a verification of the incident contemporaneously with the occurrence of the incident. This also notes that if a school or district does not have an “incomplete” policy, this exception shall not be applicable to the student.
Passed 698-60