Category Archives: Sports

Name, Image, Likeness Referendum Voted Down By OHSAA Member Schools

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(Columbus) – Ohio High School Athletic Association member schools passed 12 of 14 proposed revisions to the OHSAA Constitution and Bylaws, Executive Director Doug Ute has announced. The OHSAA’s annual referendum voting period ended at 4 p.m. Monday. Each member school has one vote on each item, which is cast by the high school principal. Once again, nearly every school participated in the voting process, with 813 of the OHSAA’s 817 member high schools casting their ballot (99.5 percent).

The Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) proposal failed by a margin of 538 to 254. The proposal mirrored recent changes made at the collegiate level and would have allowed student-athletes to sign endorsement agreements so long as their teams, schools and/or the OHSAA logo were not used, the endorsements did not happen on school property or in school uniform, and provided there were no endorsements with companies that do not support the mission of education-based athletics, such as casinos, gambling, alcohol, drugs and tobacco. By rejecting the proposal, Ohio’s student-athletes remain unable sign endorsement deals without losing their amateur status.

“Every year, the referendum voting process shows that our member schools have a voice in this democratic process,” OHSAA Executive Director Doug Ute said. “Our office was very pleased with the discussion and insights our schools expressed this spring as we met with them about each of the 14 proposals. If NIL is going to enter the Ohio interscholastic landscape, we want the schools to be the ones to make that determination. Whatever we do moving forward, it will include discussion on this issue with our school administrators, Board of Directors, staff and leaders of other state high school athletic associations.”

The other issue that failed by a narrow margin of 406 to 393 was a proposal to add a new exception to the Enrollment and Attendance Bylaw, which would have permitted a student enrolled at a member public school that does not sponsor a team sport to potentially play that sport at a public school located in a bordering public school district. The vote count on this issue was the closest referendum outcome since Competitive Balance during the 2014 cycle when it failed 327-308 before it passed in the following cycle.  

The approved Bylaw and Constitution changes will go into effect August 1, unless noted otherwise. A simple majority of votes cast by member school principals is required for a proposed amendment to be adopted. Each member school has one vote.

Several of the items passed potentially provide more participation opportunities and/or benefits for Ohio’s student-athletes. Revised Bylaw 4-1-1, Eligibility, permits a student manager or students with an intellectual or physical disability to participate one time in a single varsity contest without meeting the OHSAA scholarship requirement; revised exception to Bylaw 4-7-2, Transfers, gives the Executive Director’s Office the authority to adjust the period when a student would fulfill the regular season transfer consequence if they are unable to compete during all or part of the first 50 percent of the season; a new exception to Bylaw 4-7-2, Transfers, gives the Executive Director’s Office the authority to approve a one-time transfer of students back to a non-public school located within the same system of education (but only of the student was continuously enrolled within that system of education in grades 4 through 8); a new exception to Bylaw 4-7-2, Transfers, provides a pathway for a student who may have been subject to inappropriate adult behavior to transfer schools and not be subject to a period of ineligibility, and revised Bylaw 5-1-1, Awards, increases the award or prize amount a student-athlete can receive for participation in a specific athletic competition to $500 from $400.

More information about this year’s referendum issues, regional update meetings and complete results of the voting are available at https://www.ohsaa.org/School-Resources/referendum-voting

In addition to voting for the referendum issues, member school principals had the opportunity to vote for representatives to fill expiring positions on their respective OHSAA District Athletic Boards, with terms beginning August 1, 2022. The district athletic board election results can be found at: https://www.ohsaa.org/about/districtboards

Zane Trace/Unioto Lead 2022 All SVC Baseball Picks

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Scioto Valley Conference Co-Champs Zane Trace and Unioto lead the selections of All SVC Baseball players voted on by conference coaches for 2022, after the Pioneers and Shermans shared the title with (13-1) records.

“Player of the Year” honor went to Zane Trace’s Ben Nichols, while Pioneers’ coach Ron Allen was voted “Coach of the Year”.

Here is the full list of All SVC baseball honors.
(1st Team)
Ben Nichols (Sr) Zane Trace
Micah Geise (Jr) Unioto
Peyton Weiss (Sr) Westfall
Trey Edler (Sr) Zane Trace
Cody Rawlings (Sr) Adena
Dax Estep (Jr) Paint Valley
Tra Swayne (Sr) Piketon
Landyn Patterson (So) Unioto
Braylon Leach (So) Huntington

(2nd Team)
DJ Crocker (So) Huntington
Andrew Griffin (Jr) Unioto
Carter Glandon (Sr) Adena
Austen Ison (Jr) Zane Trace
Roger Woodruff (Sr) Piketon
Jarrett McWhorter (Sr) Southeastern
Ashton Nunemaker (Sr) Westfall
Trent Mettler (Sr) Paint Valley
Jacob Lenox (Sr) Southeastern

Honorable Mention
Will Dratwa Adena
David McGill Adena
Dalton Black Huntington
Allan Smith Huntington
Connor Free Paint Valley
Bo Blankenship Paint Valley
Chase Carson Piketon
Johnny Burton Piketon
Derek Wheeler Southeastern
Joey Pfeifer Southeastern
Ashton Crace Unioto
Ben Spetnagel Unioto
Trent Walters Westfall
Bryant Coker Westfall
Blake Phillips Zane Trace
Rece Allen Zane Trace

Player of the Year: Ben Nichols (Zane Trace)
Coach of the Year: Ron Allen (Zane Trace)
League Co-Champions:  Unioto/ Zane Trace
(13-1)

OHSAA Girls Wrestling State Tournament To Go Along Boys Event

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(Columbus) – The Ohio High School Athletic Association has announced that its inaugural girls wrestling state tournament in March 2023 will be held alongside the three divisions of the boys wrestling state tournament at the Schottenstein Center at The Ohio State University.

OHSAA submission/Photo credit David Jablonski, Dayton Daily News

The state tournament schedule will remain a three-day, five session event, held Friday through Sunday, March 10-12, 2023, and it will continue to be a double-elimination tournament for the boys and girls. The OHSAA is determining where adjustments need to be made to the time schedule and other aspects of the state tournament, which averages more than 50,000 fans for the weekend event.

“We are very excited for the girls to wrestle in the same environment at the Schottenstein Center that the boys do,” said Doug Ute, OHSAA Executive Director. “We have been working through the logistics of having both state tournaments held alongside each other at the Schott and we are pleased that it can be done. The excitement and energy will be incredible.”

The Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association has conducted the girls wrestling state tournament since 2020 at Hilliard Davidson High School. In January 2022, the OHSAA announced that girls wrestling and boys volleyball would be added as sanctioned sports beginning with the 2022-23 school year.

The week before the state tournament, the girls wrestling regional tournaments will be held on the same weekend as the boys district tournaments, but could occur on a Sunday to allow coaches who coach both teams to be with their teams that weekend. A total of 224 girls will qualify for the state tournament, with 16 wrestlers in each of the 14 weight classes.

The Schottenstein Center has hosted the OHSAA wrestling state tournament since 1999 except for 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More details for the wrestling state tournaments will be finalized and communicated in the coming months.

Matt Combs Leaving Vinton County For Unioto AD/Assistant Principal Jobs

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Vinton County’s Hall of Fame boys basketball coach and athletic director Matt Combs is leaving his 23 year job to accept positions of Athletic Director and Assistant Principal at Unioto High School, which is his alma mater. At Unioto as a player, Combs broke school scoring records, was All Ohio and led the Shermans to a basketball state runner-up finish in 1990-91.

Combs will start August 1st at Unioto, where his AD position will fill a vacancy being left by the retirement of Southeast District Hall of Fame Athletic Director Mike White.

Matt Combs told Litter Media’s Mike Smith that it was not an easy decision- “It was a really tough decision to leave VC because things were going great, I had great support from admin (administration) and I feel really attached to that community, but I had already decided to step down from coaching to spend more time with my two kids. Coincidentally, after making that decision, the Unioto position opened up so it was good timing.  I definitely feel like it was God‘s plan…. The way it all worked out.”

Combs, who is a member of both Unioto and Vinton County Athletic Hall of Fames, was hired at Vinton County in 1999, leading the Vikings to 12 Tri-Valley Conference-Ohio championships and three district titles. What has turned out to be his final season in 2022, also was a Tri-Valley Conference title season for Combs.

He was the Associated Press State Co-Division 2 Coach of the Year following the 2016-17 season when Vinton County went (27-3) and advanced to the regional finals for the first time in school history.