OHSAA Member Schools Pass All Six Referendum Items


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OHSAA Member Schools Pass All Six Referendum Items
Issue 1B passes, which allows schools to request to move up to Division I on a sport-by-sport basis

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio High School Athletic Association member schools passed all six proposed revisions to the OHSAA Constitution and Bylaws, Executive Director Doug Ute announced Thursday. The OHSAA’s annual referendum voting period is from May 1 through May 15 and ended at 4 p.m. Wednesday. Each member school has one vote on each referendum item, which is cast by the high school principal.

OHSAA Constitution Article 8-1-9 requires every member high school to submit a ballot.

The passage of Issue 1B now allows schools to request to move up to Division I on a sport-by-sport basis for the upcoming season in that sport. Schools will be sent a memo Thursday afternoon with details of the request process, which has a June 3 deadline for the upcoming fall and winter seasons. The deadline for 2025 spring sports will be set later. Once the OHSAA knows how many schools request to move up to Division I, the OHSAA will determine if changes are needed to the previously announced divisional breakdowns and tournament representation.

“We are all interested to see how many schools request to move up to Division I,” OHSAA Executive Director Doug Ute said. “With the expanded divisions in several sports, our goal is to have as close to 64 schools as possible in Divisions I and II, so we may have some adjusting to do in some sports if several Division II schools make the request to move up to Division I. We know that June 3 is a quick turn-around for our schools, but we will need to know their plans quickly to make changes to divisional assignments and representation, if needed.”

All six issues were placed on the ballot per the approval of the OHSAA Board of Directors. More information about this year’s referendum issues and complete results of the voting are available at https://www.ohsaa.org/School-Resources/referendum-voting.

The approved Bylaw and Constitution changes will go into effect August 1, unless noted otherwise. A simple majority of votes cast by member school principals is required for a proposed amendment to be adopted.

In addition to voting for the referendum issues, member school principals had the opportunity to vote for representatives to fill expiring positions on their respective OHSAA District Athletic Boards, with terms beginning August 1, 2024. The district athletic board election results can be found at: https://www.ohsaa.org/about/districtboards

The OHSAA, as defined by its Constitution, is a voluntary, unincorporated, and nonprofit membership organization. The organization regulates interscholastic athletic competition for its member schools, consisting of 818 high schools and 747 7th & 8th grade schools.

Review of the 2024 Referendum Issues

ISSUE 1B – New Exception to Bylaw 2-1-1 – Alternative Divisional Assignment

This exception allows schools to request a move up to Division I on a sport-by-sport basis for one sports season. If desired, the request must be received by the OHSAA Executive Director’s Office by the established deadline. If requested for an individual sport, all athletes on that school’s team must compete in Division I.
ISSUE 1B PASSED 560 to 217 (38 abstained) - effective date August 1, 2024

ISSUE 2B – Modify Bylaw 4-6-2 – Residency
This modification absolves school administrators from enforcing the Residency Bylaw (i.e. ensuring the student has a parent living in Ohio) for a particular student once that student is subject to custody orders involving child protective services, social services or a similar state agency.
ISSUE 2B PASSED 761 to 39 (15 abstained) - effective date August 1, 2024

ISSUE 3B – Modify Definition of “School Day” Within Bylaw 4-4-3 – Restoration and Removal of Scholastic Eligibility
This modification addresses the transition of athletic eligibility between grading periods and amends the OHSAA’s definition of a school day to not include calamity days (where school is cancelled due to weather or similar circumstances).
ISSUE 3B PASSED 719 to 73 (23 abstained) - effective date August 1, 2024

ISSUE 4B – Modify Exception to Bylaw 4-7-3 – Midseason Transfer
There are currently two exceptions which will allow a student to play the same sport for two different schools during the same season, but both exceptions require the schools to be at least 50 miles apart. This modification alters the second exception when a student transfers to a different school midseason due to the death or incarceration of the student’s parent(s) or the intervention of Children’s Services or a similar government agency. If such a situation transpires, the modification allows the Executive Director’s Office to restore full transfer eligibility at the new school even if it is less than 50 miles from the former school. The new language waiving the midseason 50-mile requirement does NOT apply to “standard” custody transfers (i.e. parent to parent custody changes without children services intervention).
ISSUE 4B PASSED 745 to 58 (12 abstained) - effective date August 1, 2024

ISSUE 5B – Modify Bylaw 4-7-3 – Midseason Transfers
This modification allows for midseason transfer students to be fully eligible at a new school in the same season at the sub-varsity level only, provided that the student meets the requirements of a transfer exception to restore full eligibility. The change does not permit a student who has played for the varsity team at the school from which they are leaving (or if there has not been a distinction between varsity and sub-varsity competition) to gain sub-varsity eligibility at the school to which they are transferring. Lastly, this modification does not permit the Executive Director's Office to grant eligibility for the OHSAA postseason tournament in the sport impacted by the midseason transfer.
ISSUE 5B PASSED 562 to 229 (24 abstained) - effective date August 1, 2024

ISSUE 6B – Modify Bylaws 9-2-1 and 9-2-2 – Contests with Out-of-State Schools
This modification allows schools to: 1.) travel to bordering states or provinces an unlimited number of times strictly to practice without prior approval from the OHSAA Executive Director’s Office; and 2.) travel to a non-bordering state for practice purposes only one time per sports season with prior approval from the OHSAA Executive Director's Office. The previous language only permitted teams to practice while out-of-state if they were also participating in a contest(s) during that trip. Additionally, the new language clarifies that schools are permitted to miss school time at their discretion when they exercise their one-time travel to a non-bordering state or province.
ISSUE 6B PASSED 692 to 86 (37 abstained) - effective date August 1, 2024