OHSAA Board of Directors Approves Expansion Proposal  
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(official OHSAA release) 2-15-24

Soccer, girls volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball adding divisions starting in 2024-25

COLUMBUS, Ohio – After months of discussion and meetings around Ohio to gather feedback, the Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Directors unanimously approved a proposal Thursday morning to utilize a new formula to determine how many divisions will be offered for postseason tournaments. The change affects OHSAA General Sports Regulation 17 and will result in girls and boys soccer now having five divisions, while girls volleyball, girls and boys basketball, softball and baseball will all have seven divisions. In those sports, Division I and Division II will only include 64 schools.

The new divisions will go into effect in the fall of 2024. The board will continue to discuss additional sports, noting several recent meetings regarding track and field. There are no changes to the number of football divisions, which is already at seven. In addition, any changes to the current deployment of the Competitive Balance process would need to be voted upon by OHSAA member schools during the annual referendum voting process.

Doug Ute, OHSAA Executive Director, praised the board’s decision as a step toward to level the playing field of OHSAA tournaments.

“It’s the right thing to do for the student-athletes who have been competing at this disadvantage,” said Ute. “For too long, the largest schools in our divisions have been so much larger than the smaller schools in the same division, which has resulted in many schools accepting that they realistically have little chance at making a run in the tournament. In some of our sports, there have been more than 200 schools competing for a state title in that division, which is significantly more than what most other states do, and what we do in many of our own sports.

“We know that there is a lot of work to do in the coming months to prepare for additional divisions this fall,” Ute said. “We have already started working on the details to accomplish this, but one thing we know for sure is that having two or three more state champions in these sports doesn’t water them down or diminish winning a state title. And we anticipate that this new format will be revenue neutral, since every school makes the tournament already.”

Each year, the Board of Directors would still have final authority in determining how many divisions to be used that school year, but the proposal calls for the following scale to be used to guide the board’s decision on the number of divisions for girls volleyball, football, soccer, basketball, softball and baseball, however note that the sports of lacrosse, field hockey, ice hockey and boys volleyball would not change from their current division numbers:

   199 or fewer teams: 1 Division

   200 to 299 teams: 2 Divisions

   300 to 399 teams: 3 Divisions

   400 to 499 teams: 4 Divisions

   500 to 599 teams: 5 Divisions

   600 to 699 teams: 6 Divisions

   700 and more teams: 7 Divisions

For girls volleyball, soccer, basketball, softball and baseball, the largest 64 schools would be placed into Division I. The next largest 64 schools would be placed into Division II. The remaining schools would be divided as evenly as possible into the remaining divisions. The OHSAA already does something similar to this in football, in which the largest 10 percent of schools are placed into Division I and the remaining schools are divided evenly in Divisions II through VII.

The proposal does not call for a change to the formula that the OHSAA uses for individual sports to determine the number of student-athletes required for team designation, which includes five in bowling, five in cross country (who score for their team at the district tournament), four in golf, three in girls gymnastics, seven in swimming and diving, four in tennis, nine in track and field and seven in wrestling.

The proposal calls for the following number of divisions to be used for individual sports:

   200 or fewer teams: 1 Division

   201 to 450 teams: 2 Divisions

   451 to 700 teams: 3 Divisions

   701 and more teams: 4 Divisions

OHSAA member schools vote to determine any changes to the bylaws or constitution via the referendum process each spring. Member schools also vote for representatives for their District Athletic Boards, who are then selected to serve on the State Board of Directors on a three-year term. The Board of Directors are then charged with reviewing and approving the General Sports Regulations on behalf of the OHSAA membership. The OHSAA General Sports Regulations do not go to the member schools for voting and are posted at:

The OHSAA will announce structural and dates changes for future state tournaments at a later date.