OHSAA football realignment: Winners and losers
The OHSAA: A new seventh division and the extra playoff games that go with it means more revenue. Also, improving the odds of making it to the postseason for Division I schools means the extra games will be the ones with the best money-making potential.
Powerhouse Division I teams: With 32 of 72 schools in the new big-school division in the postseason, schools like Mentor, St. Ignatius, St. Edward and the traditional powers in Cincinnati will be almost guaranteed playoff spots each year, if not first-round home games. Boys winter sports at those schools would be wise to push back their season-openers.
Former Division I teams now in Division II: If this plan was in place in 2012, South would have been the No. 1 seed in the new Division II, Region 3. Mayfield, which snuck in as the eighth seed last year, would have had a home game. Brush and Riverside, which weren’t close to making it last year, would have been in the Week 11 field.
Big CVC Chagrin schools: Kenston and Aurora, which formerly were in Division II, will be in Division III. That gives them some breathing room. Previously, they had to schedule up in the nonconference and hope their computer rating wasn’t weighed down by the smaller or not-as-successful teams in the Chagrin.
Geography: If you’re a traditionalist who prefers a team take a more direct path to Columbus instead of zig-zagging around the map, this realignment isn’t for you. On the surface, it seems odd that teams will be driving by plenty of comparable schools while traveling to their playoff games. But schools have made it clear that competitive balance is the overwhelming most important issue with prep sports. If it means going an extra 50 miles out of the way for a game, so be it.
Massillon: The tradition-rich school that has famously never won a big-school state championship in the playoff era (1972-present) isn’t even a big school anymore. The Tigers’ boys enrollment figure is 547, well short of the D-I cutoff of 608. Also worth noting: Massillon’s rival, Canton McKinley, is one of the smallest D-I schools in Ohio, with a boys enrollment figure of 612.
Division I coaches on the hot seat: With 44 percent of the field making the playoffs in Division I, that means if a team doesn’t make the playoffs two years in a row, the heat from parents and boosters might be turned up earlier than before.
-- Howard Primer