Roughly a year ago, Roger Bacon High School and the Greater Catholic League Coed (GCL Coed) filed a lawsuit against the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) over the harmful impact that the OHSAA’s “competitive balance” rules have on the GCL Coed’s Catholic high schools. After hearing arguments, Judge Robert Ruehlman of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas issued a temporary restraining order blocking the OHSAA from further enforcing the competitive balance rules until he could conduct a full hearing on the matter.
Instead of allowing that full hearing to take place, the OHSAA opted for a “Hail Mary”: it asked the Supreme Court of Ohio to prevent Judge Ruehlman from even considering the claims of the GCL Coed schools. Today, the Supreme Court rejected all of the OHSAA’s arguments and returned the case to Judge Ruehlman, restoring the temporary restraining order and paving the way for the lawsuit to move forward. You can read the entire slip opinion here: 2019-07-16 OHSAA v. Ruehlman – denial of writ of prohibition 2019-Ohio-2845
Competitive Balance established “new rules us[ing] a formula to create an ‘adjusted enrollment count’ to determine the division in which a school will be placed for postseason play for 8 of the 26 sports regulated by the [OHSAA].” Decision, at 2. “If the private school enrolls a student-athlete who did not attend seventh and eighth grade in one of its designated feeder schools, then the school is penalized by having its adjusted enrollment count increased.” Id. In other words, Roger Bacon and the GCL Coed schools are penalized under Competitive Balance for enrolling students from the majority of their traditional Catholic feeder schools.
“Despite the OHSAA’s attempt to silence them, Roger Bacon and the GCL Coed schools are excited to finally have their day in court and look forward to further advocating for their students before Judge Ruehlman,” said Terry Coates, attorney for Roger Bacon High School and the GCL Coed.
“We look forward to restoring fairness and common sense to competition in Ohio high school sports.” – Tom Donnelly, Commissioner, GCL Coed
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