Why does Ohio Require Nine Athletes for a Track & Field Team - When other States Only Require One?

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Why does Ohio Require Nine Athletes for a Track & Field Team - When other States Only Require One?

Written by Matt McGowan on 20 May 2016.

Congratulations to Warren JFK which won the OHSAA Boys Division III State Track
& Field Championship - Even though the OHSAA doesn't recognize the school as
having a track and field team since they only had 7 boys on their roster.
There are probably 90 boys Track & Field teams in Ohio with fewer than 9 boys
on their team and even though many score in the District Championships their
schools are not counted as having a team by the OHSAA

At the January Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches annual track and field clinic a coach inquired during the OATCCC General Membership Meeting if the Ohio High School Athletic Association requirement to have nine athletes on the track & field was the same as the National Federation of High School Associations. (The OHSAA says you need nine athletes for them to count that school as having a Track & Field program). An Ohio OATCCC Districts Representative said it was the same.  His answer was wrong.

Is misinformation given to board members and district representatives?  Do they make up answers?  Or do they just don't know or care?

I called the National Federation of High School Associations in Indianapolis and a representative told me they leave the requirement for determining the number of athletes on a team is left up to each State Association for recognizing if they count that school as having a sport program. She told me her home State only requires one athlete for their association to count that school as having a team.  She thought most associations require only one athlete as one athlete can score for their team.  She went on to say most associations require five athletes for a cross country team as you need five athlete to score.

I contacted the Ohio's five neighboring States to Ohio to see what their rule was for their Association.

When asked the question "how many athletes does your association require for your association to recognize and count the school as having a track and field program"?

The requirement for their association to count a school as having a track & field team:

Kentucky - 1 athlete

Indiana - 1 athlete

Michigan - 1 athlete

Kentucky - 1 athlete

Pennsylvania - 1 athlete

West Virginia - 1 athlete

Why does Ohio require nine athletes?!

According to an official with the OHSAA  "To the best of everyone's knowledge this sports regulation has been in effect for at least 15- 20 years. As a sports regulation, this would have had to be approved by the (at that time) Board of Control. It would not have been a decision by just the Commissioner's office or any one individual.  In track and field, the number 9 represents 50% of the events competed.. In the case of some sports like cross country (5),  this represents the total number necessary to score as a team.."

My educated guess is if Ohio followed these neighborhood States requirements of only needing 1 athlete to determine if the school was counted as a track and field team - Ohio would have @780 high school boys track & field teams. THUS, the OHSAA would be forced to have 4 divisions instead on 3 (If 750 schools sponsor a sport the OHSAA has 4 divisions) . This Spring a school with only 305 boys in the bottom three grades will be forced to compete against a school that has 1,350 boys in the bottom three grades.

Is this Fair and Equitable? 

More OHSAA Cross Country and Track & Field Issues:




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