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The Ohio High School Athletic Association

History of the OHSAA

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The History of The OHSAA
by Fred Dafler

The Ohio High School Athletic Association is a voluntary, unincorporated, not-for-profit association of public and private high schools and 7th-8th grade schools. During the 2010-11 school year there were 828 member schools. There were 798 member schools in the 7th-8th grade division.

The impetus for the founding of the Ohio High School Athletic Association came from the Western Ohio Superintendents Round Table as a result of discussions in the 1890's and early 1900's. At the March, 1906, meeting of the Round Table, a resolution was adopted to appoint a committee headed by George R. Eastman of Steele High School in Dayton.

The first meeting of the first Board of Control was held in Columbus on November 9, 1907, with George R. Eastman, Dayton, President; W.H. Rice, Chillicothe, Secretary-Treasurer; William McClain, London; S.H. Layton and F.C. Kirkendall, Piqua, present. On May 23, 1908, the first state championship sponsored by the OHSAA was held at Beaver Field, Denison University, Granville. The First State Track and Field Tournament involved over 100 entrants from 23 of the 30 member high schools. Columbus North was crowned the first champion with 19 points to 16 for Dayton Steele.

The OHSAA started with five districts in 1907, but soon changed to six districts in 1908.

The operation of the OHSAA is the responsibility of the Commissioner and his staff with offices located in Columbus. In addition to the Commissioner, there are seven other administrative personnel plus 12 full-time secretarial and clerical personnel.

Until 1925, the business affairs of the OHSAA were handled by the Board of Control officers. In 1925, H.R. Townsend was employed as a full-time Commissioner.

1925-1944 H.R. Townsend
1944-1958 Harold Emswiler
1958-1963 W.J. McConnell
1963-1969 Paul E. Landis
1969-1977 Harold A. Meyer
1977-1980 George D. Bates
1980-1989 Richard L. Armstrong
1990-2004 Clair Muscaro
2004-present Dr. Dan Ross

The OHSAA sponsors state championships in 12 boys sports and 12 girls sports as a result of that humble beginning of one in 1908.

Click here for 100 Years of the Ohio High School Athletic Association by Timothy L. Hudak in conjunction with the OHSAA's centennial celebration in 2006-07.

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