COLUMBUS — Until (unless) the Ohio High School Athletic Association makes drastic changes, Logan will remain a Division II team in football... and Division I in everything else.
The competitive balance formula put into place two seasons ago, while having been tweaked here and there, does very little when it comes to giving Chieftain football any post-season relief.
It thus came as no surprise on Tuesday to find out the Purple & White will remain in Division II, according to information announced by the OHSAA.
The OHSAA released adjusted enrollment numbers for football and what schools are in which of the state’s seven playoff divisions on Tuesday. Specific regions will be announced last week.
Football is the only OHSAA sport in which Ohio prep teams do not automatically qualify for the post-season. A total of 224 of the state’s football-playing schools (a little less than a third) reach the playoffs. Divisions and regions are readjusted yearly with competitive balance numbers.
The OHSAA said Tuesday that, in all, seven schools moved up a division due to competitive balance and 55 more moved up on enrollment or through a combination of enrollment and competitive balance. On the other side of the coin, 14 schools moved down a division due to competitive balance and 47 more dropped a division due to enrollment.
Logan’s enrollment numbers fell 10 percent but it didn’t come close to getting the Chieftains into Division III.
The OHSAA stressed Tuesday’s list is not the final list of schools that will compete in football in 2019, as there may be schools who drop football or school that add football due to new schools opening, consolidation, and other reasons.
Logan dropped from Division I to Division II at the outset of the 2007 season and has been there ever since. The Chiefs made the playoffs each of their first three seasons in D2 but have not been back since 2009.
Logan thus hasn’t reached the post-season in nearly a decade and, in that time, has really only been in contention for the post-season just once. That was in 2015, when the Chiefs (8-2) finished tenth in their Division II region.
Somehow getting into Division III in football (and Division II in all other sports) has been the dream of Chieftain Nation for a number of years.
According to the OHSAA, the male and female enrollments of its member schools are used to determine OHSAA governance classifications (Class AAA, Class AA and Class A) and post-season tournament divisions for each sport.
Enrollment figures are based on the number of students in grades nine, 10 and 11 as of October 2018 as provided by the Ohio Department of Education through its Education Management Information System (EMIS) and are used to determine OHSAA tournament divisions for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years in conjunction with the OHSAA’s competitive balance formula.
There could be tweaks made in the coming weeks, but it appears the divisions will be set up as follows: Division I, for adjusted enrollment numbers of 592 and above; Division II, 378-590; Division III, 269-375; Division IV, 209-268; Division V, 159-207; Division VI, 117-157, and Division VII, 116 and under.
Logan, which has been forced to play an independent schedule since the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League folded in the spring of 2017, could at least form a de facto league of like-sized schools with its 2019 schedule.
That’s because six of Logan’s 10 regular-season opponents (Tri-Valley, Jackson, Sheridan, Athens, Zanesville and Hamilton Township) are in Division III and two others (Teays Valley and Chillicothe) join Logan in Division II.
Maysville, a new addition to the schedule, is Division IV while Meigs, the only team the Chieftains defeated in going 1-9 last fall, is in Division IV. Ironically, both schools dropped a division with the new enrollment numbers, with Maysville falling to D4 from D3 and Meigs to D5 from D4.
Enrollment figures helped drop Tri-Valley back into Division III after playing the 2018 season in Division II.
When it comes to football, Logan’s base enrollment number was 450 boys (a large decrease from the 500 count of a year ago) and the competitive balance roster data resulted in very little change for the Chieftains, adjusting Logan’s total up to 458. That total number was 506 two years ago.
Logan does get closer to Division III. The Chiefs are the 65th-largest school out of 107 teams in Division II — a significant drop from being No. 41 two years ago, when adjusted numbers hiked them higher — but still not all that close to D3
The adjusted football numbers for Logan opponents have Teays Valley (461) slightly larger than Logan (458), followed by Chillicothe (378), Zanesville (354), Hamilton Township (353), Tri-Valley (328), Marietta (327), Athens (324), Sheridan (297), Jackson (292), Warren (269), Maysville (239) and Meigs (196).
Marietta is Logan’s OHSAA Jamboree exhibition game foe this fall and Warren is on the 2020 schedule.
The largest schools in Division II are Cincinnati LaSalle (an adjusted enrollment number of 590), Cleveland Rhodes (587), Cleveland John Marshall (582), Loveland (576) and Toledo DeSales (576).
Meanwhile, Chillicothe, Alliance and Sylvania Southview, with adjusted numbers of 378, are tied for the smallest schools in Division II. Warren (269) suffers a similar fate, tied with three other schools as the smallest in Division III.
Meanwhile, the five largest schools in the state — who are, obviously, among the 72 schools in Division I — are Cincinnati St. Xavier (1,413), Cleveland St. Ignatius (1,309), Mason (1,302), Fairfield (1,253) and Lakewood St. Edward (1,050).
Nine of the state’s largest 11 schools are out of the Cincinnati area in the Southwest District, with No. 12 Reynoldsburg (952) the biggest in this sector of the state. Among other area schools of interest, Gahanna (893) is No. 17, Newark (735) No. 39 and Lancaster (729) No. 40.
August 1 is the first day of football coaching and scrimmages can be played Aug. 9-24. The first Friday of the regular season is Aug. 26, and the state playoffs begin Nov. 8-9 at neutral sites.
State championship games will be played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton Thursday, Dec. 5; Friday, Dec. 6, and Saturday, Dec. 7.
Some information for this story provided by the Ohio High School Athletic Association (ohsaa.org).