OHSAA member schools to vote on 14 referendum items


By OHSAA



COLUMBUS – Member schools of the Ohio High School Athletic Association will vote on 14 potential changes to the OHSAA constitution and bylaws during the annual referendum voting period May 1-16. The OHSAA Board of Directors approved the 13 bylaw issues and one constitution issue to go to the membership for a vote.

These referendum issues, along with other important matters involving educational-based athletics, have been presented to school administrators at two Athletic Discussion Meetings and will also be presented at four more, which include:

Wednesday, April 20- Clayton Meeting, 12 p.m.

Monday, April 25- Cuyahoga Falls Meeting, 1:45 p.m.

Tuesday, April 26- Bluffton Meeting, 9 a.m.

Thursday, April 28- Cambridge Meeting, 1:30 p.m.

High school principals will vote electronically on the 14 proposals beginning May 1 and ending at 4 p.m. Monday, May 16. If approved, all items become effective August 1, 2022, unless otherwise noted. A simple majority is needed to pass an item.

A complete text of the 2022 Referendum Items can be located here: https://ohsaaweb.blob.core.windows.net/files/SchoolResources/refvote/FINAL-2022ReferendumItems.pdf

Two Items of Note

Issue 12B is a Name, Image and Likeness proposal that mirrors changes made at the collegiate level in the last year. This proposed addition would now allow student-athletes to sign endorsement agreements so long as their teams, schools and/or the OHSAA logo are not used and provided there are no endorsements with companies that do not support the mission of education-based athletics (casinos, gambling, alcohol, drugs, tobacco).

In addition, issue 4B would permit a student enrolled at a member public high school that does not sponsor a team sport in which the student desires to participate to petition to play that sport at a public school located in a bordering public school district pursuant to the bordering district’s duly adopted Board of Education resolution.

Additional Referendum Items

ISSUE 1C: Transfer of Schools From One Athletic District to Another

This proposed modification of Constitution Article 5-7-3 and addition of Article 6-1-10 would clarify procedures and factors used for evaluating a request for a school to change OHSAA athletic districts. The proposed amendment would 1) restrict requests to those that can meet “objective, published criteria,” 2) restrict how frequently such changes may occur, 3) remove the final decision-making authority from the Board of Directors, which is composed of Reps from the impacted districts, and instead places the decision-making authority with the Executive Director, and 4) allow any denied transfer requests to be heard by the OHSAA Appeals Panel. If passed, effective May 16, 2022.

ISSUE 3B: Student Manager Exception

This proposal would enable schools to reward and/or recognize a student manager or a student with an intellectual or physical disability for his/her special contributions to a team and allow them to play in a game without requiring the school to verify certain aspects of eligibility. The participation of such a student would only be permitted one time per sports season and the opposing coach and officials would have to be made aware of the student’s participation before the student enters the contest. This concept is already captured in Bylaw 2-2-2, so, if passed, that Bylaw would also be modified to remove the requirement for the student to meet the standard of the OHSAA scholarship bylaw.

ISSUE 4B: Students Attending Public School Playing Sports at Neighboring District School

This proposed new exception would permit a student enrolled at a member public high school that does not sponsor a team sport in which the student desires to participate to petition to play that sport at a public school located in a bordering public school district pursuant to the bordering district’s duly adopted Board of Education resolution. Reciprocal language has been developed for students in a multiple high school district. An OHSAA form would need to be utilized and, if approved by the Board of Education, must be on file at the OHSAA. Forms for the next school year must be received by the OHSAA Office by June 30 each year, and no student may participate at another school until approved by the Executive Director’s Office. If passed, effective May 16, 2022 with tangible implementation for 2022-23 school year.

ISSUE 7B: Bona Fide Move Changes/Clarifications

Besides moving language from the former “Note 1” to more clearly articulate to which school(s) a student can potentially attempt to restore full athletic eligibility via this exception, the proposed modification would do the following:

1.) The current language of this exception allows for families to select any non-public school when they move into a new public school district, regardless of the distance of their move. The proposed amendment would set a new mileage requirement (15 miles) for a student attempting to use this exception at a non-public school.

2.) The current language of this exception allows for families to select any school when they move into a new public school district if the distance between the two residences is over 100 miles. The proposed amendment would decrease that distance to allow for the selection of any school when the distance between the two residences is 80 miles.

It was also noted that the reason there is no mileage requirement for approval for transfers to public schools for a move of less than 80 miles is because public schools have defined geographic boundaries which govern state allocated funding and school attendance assignments based on residency. If passed, effective May 16, 2022.

ISSUE 9B: Return to Non-Public System of Education

The proposal to add this exception would give the Executive Director’s Office authority to approve a one¬ time transfer of students back to a non¬public school located within the same system of education BUT ONLY if the student was continuously enrolled within that system of education in grades 4 through 8.

ISSUE 10B: Adult Bad Behavior Exception

The proposal to add this exception would provide a pathway for a student who may have been subject to inappropriate adult behavior to transfer schools and not be subject to a period of ineligibility so long as certain criteria is met. The proposed exception has no application for a student/family displeased with the former coach’s training tactics/style.

ISSUE 11B: Modifications to Amateurism Bylaw

This proposed modification of the bylaw clarifies that money can never be accepted as a result of participation in interscholastic competition and also clarifies that a student can be a professional in one sport but still retain their amateur status in a different OHSAA recognized sport. If passed, effective May 16, 2022.

ISSUE 12B: New Amateurism Bylaw (Add Name Image and Likeness Regulations)

This proposed addition would now allow student-athletes to sign endorsement agreements so long as their teams, schools and/or the OHSAA are not being represented within those endorsements and provided there are no endorsements with companies that do not support the mission of education-based athletics (casinos, gambling, alcohol, drugs, tobacco). If passed, effective May 16, 2022.

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By OHSAA