News Release – Ohio High School Athletic Association
Executive Director Doug Ute
For Immediate Release – April 5, 2022
OHSAA Member Schools to Vote on 14 Referendum Items
NIL, transfer modifications and participation options for non-enrolled students highlight referendum slate
COLUMBUS, Ohio – 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, will be presented to school administrators at six upcoming Athletic Discussion Meetings during the month of April, which include:
Wednesday, April 6- Athens Meeting, 10:00 am
Monday, April 18- Columbus Meeting, 12:00 pm
Wednesday, April 20- Clayton Meeting, 12:00 pm
Monday, April 25- Cuyahoga Falls Meeting, 1:45 pm
Tuesday, April 26- Bluffton Meeting, 9:00 am
Thursday, April 28- Cambridge Meeting, 1:30pm
Members of the media are also welcome to attend. 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.
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.
Summary of 2022 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 1B: Definition of Interscholastic Contest
This proposed modification would clean up the definition of an “interscholastic contest” by providing clarity to and more detail on the definition.
ISSUE 2B: Recognized & Emerging Sports
The proposed modification to the definition of Recognized Sports removes the list of recognized sports from the bylaw and moves that list to the General Sports Regulations, to be modified as needed by the Board of Directors. New Bylaws 1-5-2 and 1-5-3 provides definitions of Emerging Sports and Sponsored Events, respectively, and removes those definitions from the General Sports Regulations. The proposed changes also clarify that emerging sports are recognized sports covered under the OHSAA catastrophic insurance policy. The modification in Bylaw 1-5-4 clarifies that all OHSAA recognized sports, including school club teams, must abide by all OHSAA rules.
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 5B: 18¬Year¬Old Provision in Residency Bylaw
This proposed amendment would permit the Executive Director’s Office to approve residency eligibility after considering extenuating circumstances that may compel a student who is 18 and no longer eligible for a legal change of custody/guardianship to transfer schools and move into a new residence with a primary relative while his/her parents are living outside of Ohio. This proposal mirrors the amendment to the 18¬year¬old provision found within the change of custody exception under the transfer bylaw. If approved, the student would still have to meet the requirements of a transfer bylaw exception in order to restore eligibility for the entire season.
ISSUE 6B: Shifting Period of Ineligibility
The proposed modification, which would be in the additional note, would give the Executive Director’s Office authority to adjust the period when a student would fulfill the regular season transfer consequence if they are unable to compete during all or part of the first 50 percent of the season due to extenuating circumstances through no fault of the student-athlete. This would NOT allow for the transfer consequence to be waived, nor would it allow for the student to regain eligibility for the OHSAA tournament.
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 8B: Remove Current Transfer Exception 5 (School of Deaf/Blind)
Since the State School for the Blind and State School for the Deaf are no longer members of the OHSAA, this proposal would remove the exception for students transferring to these schools. A proposal to add this exception could be recommended should either school desire to return as an OHSAA member school.
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.
ISSUE 13B: Modifications to Awards Bylaw
This modification clarifies that the award threshold from participation in an event is reset after each competition and that the award must be given as a result of participation in a specific athletic competition. Also, the proposed award/prize amount has been increased to $500 per competition from $400. If passed, effective May 16, 2022.
Director of Media Relations
Ohio High School Athletic Association
Office: 614-267-2502, ext. 124
4080 Roselea Place
Columbus, OH 43214