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What they're saying: OHSAA expanding divisions in multiple sports next year

Feb. 27—This fall, Ohio high school postseason tournaments will expand in soccer, basketball, baseball, softball and volleyball. More divisions should mean fewer colossal mismatches. It will definitely mean more teams winning state titles.

—What the OHSAA changes mean

Here's what local officials have to say about the changes:

Oakwood athletics director Paul Stone: "It needed to be addressed. I never looked at how it was going to impact Oakwood High School. The OHSAA Board of Directors put the focus on all student-athletes across the state. Regardless of where Oakwood ends up, we will have to participate against great competition in all tournaments. The way I look at it, the tears of joy and the tears of disappointment don't know what division you are playing in. The emotions for the athletes and fans will remain. Now a few more get a chance to experience it."

Dayton Public Schools business manager Tiffany Powell, who oversees athletics: "I think that opportunity for the different-sized schools to play a school that's a similar size to yours, that competitive balance is important because the mindset of some athletes — not all — is, 'Wow, we're playing this big school. We're in this big stadium or in this fancy gym,' and they kind of feel 'less than.' So you're going to be in a place that's real similar to yours, and that will take that mindset away and allow you to compare apples to apples."

Lakota West athletics director Scott Kaufman on potentially watering down state championships by adding more divisions: "I think Marion Local's won Division VII football, how many years? I guarantee you the ticker-tape parades they have don't have an asterisk saying watered down for Division VII. Anybody who's saying it's watered down is not involved with education and doesn't understand education-based athletics. That's just a fact. That's a fan who's making some comment who doesn't understand what we're supposed to be about. There isn't anybody who's involved with education who believes when you have a discrepancy of enrollment of 1000 kids that that's fair to the school on the lower end of that, and when you look at states our size, we were behind the curve to begin with. You look at the Georgias, Floridas and Alabamas and Texas, they already have seven divisions, and some of them have fewer teams than we do.

Badin director of athletics Geoff Melzer: "I thought it was a good thing. At least I think now that'll give some schools opportunities to at least be competitive and have a chance to win some tournament games. I was pretty much indifferent for us. At first glance, there might be more travel, but I don't think it's going to be a lot, and quite honestly, if we're in that position further down the road and we have to travel there'll be a lot of other teams that would want to be in our position."

Northmont athletics director Micah Harding on teams having additional travel: "Expenses are gonna go up for some schools, but when you're looking at doing what's best for kids, and I think when you look at what a long run can do in a team sport, whether it's soccer, basketball, baseball, football ... you look at some of these football runs we've had in the playoffs, our community has really gotten behind it. So what that can do for a community whether it's bringing more people into town because there's a tournament game or just the excitement that it brings to a community or getting alumni to come back out — to me, benefits far outweigh the costs."

Mechanicsburg athletics director Coby Wilhelm: "We have been on the edge of D-III and D-IV in the four-division sports and have bounced back and forth between the two divisions, so we are familiar with the majority of schools from both. The unknown is unsettling, but we are going to continue to focus on the things we can control and get our kids ready to play regardless of who it is against."