When it was announced on March 22 that the Ohio High School Athletic Association was pulling the vote on separation of public and non-public schools in tournaments to the new competitive balance proposal, it took many administrators around the state off guard.
Many had all been educating themselves on what separation would do for their schools, and were prepared to vote on that come May 1.
Given only six weeks to prepare themselves for a competitive balance proposal was one reason why Champion athletic director Tim Cope was not surprised that the referendum failed by a vote of 327-308.
"I do think (the time) had a factor in it," Cope said. "There were a lot of superintendents that signed a petition wanting this (separation) on the ballot then it was taken away. I think everyone was caught off guard by that."
The time factor was a big reason for Warren G. Harding athletic director Paul Trina and giving his principal, Michael Notar, the recommendation to vote against the referendum.
"We didn't like the lateness of how it was changed or that it was that well thought out," Trina said. "I really didn't think it was going to pass. I don't think they had a real clear answer about how this came on the ballot and I thought that they were rushing it."
Trina went on to say that if the referendum would have been announced sooner, then it might have passed as more people would have had more time to be educated on the proposal.
Whether or not they felt educated or not, 81 percent of the eligible schools voted on this year's May referendum ballot. Out of the 826 schools that were sent ballots, 191 did not vote. Out of the 191, four ballots were invalid and 27 did not meet the May 15 deadline.
"I was disappointed that 191 schools didn't vote," Howland athletic director Ron McCleary said. "That's just disappointing."
McCleary was taken aback that the vote failed. He said the proposal wasn't perfect, but it was a positive step in order to regain competitive balance throughout the state.
"I was surprised by the vote, I thought it would pass," McCleary said. "I know the OHSAA, the system, isn't perfect. But Dr. (Daniel B.) Ross and the committee are trying to work to improve it and they are looking for the answer. I thought it was a good alternative."
While McCleary was a bit surprised, John Gillen of John F. Kennedy wasn't shocked in the least bit.
"It didn't surprise me, honestly," the Kennedy athletic director said. "I thought, in the case of basketball, the multiplier number would have been five, and that's just way too high. And I wasn't looking at it as just a private school, but trying to look at the big picture."
With the referendum failing, it is more than likely that a separation vote will be placed on next year's ballot, as well as a new competitive balance proposal. While Gillen asked the question, "When does it stop?" Cope hopes they can vote on one measure at a time.
"If the separation vote fails and you're at status quo, then I think take a look at competitive balance again," Cope said. "The public schools want an opinion on that (the separation), and they keep shunning us. They should approach it that way."