A Page -- July 15, 2010

Private schools "winning too many 

state titles" could lead to a vote 

creating separate public and private 

school divisions in the OHSAA

July 15, 2010


By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor



Within the past 40 years, the number of schools and teams winning state championships has more than doubled, partly because of a watering down of Student/Athletics but also as a move to heighten chances for more Student/Athletes to have district, regional and statewide goals that are attainable.

Now the watering down might go even further if some get their wish to divide state tournaments and championships by private and public schools. The question must be asked, is this really going to make “champions” true “champions?”

For about the first seven decades of the 20th century most schools played to win their leagues and that was about it. During most of that time also most schools had just football, boys’ basketball and boys track, if that.

Title IX; the growth of soccer in the U.S. and subsequently, hockey, lacrosse, fastpitch softball, etc.; interfacing computer playoffs; expanding tournaments; things like bowling moving from community recreational to HS varsity; and some sports like hockey actually having a state tournament for the JV level has been a good thing for high school sports over the past 40 years.

More Student/Athletes have been able to taste state championships at the individual and team level than ever before, sending them off to college, the military, missionary work or a trade with great confidence.


At the same time all these other things were happening to bring most schools to a level of sponsoring 20 varsity sports teams or more and increasing the odds of post season success, administrators used numbers to increase those chances ever more by creating more divisions. At one time there was only one division and one state champ in a sport and eventually there were three AAA, AA, and A until the 1970s when divisions were broken down by D-I, D-II, D-II, etc.

Divisions go by total enrollment and sex; if a school has a high number of girls enrolled, it would be in D-I or D-II, but the same school can have a much lower number of boys and be D-III or D-IV. Also some sports have more divisions than others and whenever a division has been added, it has watered down the lower and newer level due to the fewer and newer teams in it. Some sports have as many as six divisions and thus six state titles.

Now, a growing faction has fielded complaints in recent years regarding the great number of state championships that have been won by Catholic and other private schools. A school like St. Edward has won 40 state championships since 1978 and it has only one sex. Other single-sex,/Catholic,/private schools like St. Ignatius have also won more than a couple dozen state titles, while Hawken has over 30 state titles in girls’ swimming alone with some boys’ tanker titles to boot.

There are no publics locally that come even close (except Massillon’s 22 state “poll” football titles from 1900 to 1972), but Upper Arlington, a public in Columbus, does have as many state titles as St. Ed albeit being a mixed school as well.

What gets lost in this societal attempt to deny history is that one of the reasons football added the computer playoffs and enhanced other state tourneys is that a lot of the private schools did not have a conference championship to play for and thus the post season and eventual state tourney became their “league.”  Yes, Ignatius, Holy Name, Benedictine and Latin were in theSenate in the olden days, and there was the short-lived Crown Conference for six Catholic boys schools, and University School was in the Quad Conference (forerunner to the LEL) in the early 1900s, but eventually they all became independents, making the state title the only prize that could be in their possessions.

Much of this move to make separate state tournaments for private and public is merely because the public schools can’t win at the level and volume as the privates. Some want to say that the privates recruit from a four or five county area, and the publics can take talent from only their districts, but that is ridiculous and a very ‘70s concept. A school like Magnificat could never exist if it were only allowed to take students and by extension Student/Athletes from Rocky River since there are not enough girls in a small community like that who would have the desire nor the academic and spiritual aptitude to go there.

Also, Glenville is not restricted to the Glenville district, but the entire Cleveland district at large, making it the public to the city what the various privates are to the counties/suburbs.

Private schools win a disproportionate number of state titles for three reasons: 1) a theological basis, 2) privatization, and 3) single-sex learning all foster focus, individuality, synergy, profitability, Capitalism, Americanism, the familial, tenacity, and innovativeness. The element of miracle, comeback, upset or surprise is more evident within such a model.

In a system driven by teachers’ unions, such a winning combination is less possible but not implausible.

Parity is OK to a certain degree. The Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League had great parity this past season and for the 10th time in the last 11 years produced the state champion. A lot of aggregate leagues would like to have the same and thereby accomplish the same in the end. With highly accomplished public school administrators like Tim Carras and Dan Gerome involved in both the hockey league and public school leagues, this certainly is not out of reach – if they have strong competition within the league, it should transfer to post season play in which that the best of that league can emerge hugely in Columbus..

Talk about watering down, it can get even worse. When asked, St. Ed. AD Paul Michalko said that they want not just one private school division, but several, just like with publics, so that there would be a D-I state private champ, D-1public champ, D-II private champ, D-II public champ, etc. Are there enough privates to go around like that?

Padua Athletic Director Kevin Leigh is on the committee of the private school people involved with these committees trying to bring a proposal to all high school principals.

“There are a select few people who would like to see separate divisions for private and public,” Leigh said. “There is a committee working on it right now and by the end of August we will have more on what they have discovered.”

From the other side, public schools that have had great success in many sports such as Strongsville, Mentor, Solon, Massillon and McKinley, certainly might want to be in the “private” division but can’t because they are public. That could still be in the mix.

A vote on this would not take place until spring of 2011, and then at the earliest go into effect during the 2012-13 Student/Athletic year.

“It is not certain that it will be on the ballot, nor is there a guarantee that it will pass if it is,” Leigh said. ‘”I don’t get the feeling from parents, coaches and ADs that having separate divisions is a popular idea. The committee is looking at different options.”

Getting To Know Domonic Cook

The 2010 MAC Football season is quickly approaching and as part of its preview, the league would like to give an inside look into the lives of its Student/Athletes.


This is the 12th installment in a series of articles on Student/Athletes from the Cleveland-based Mid American Conference 

July 15, 2010

By Ken Mather
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Buffalo's Domonic Cook started all 12 games last year for the Bulls and ranked fourth on the team with 55 tackles and led the team with 10 passes defensed.

2010 Football Summer Preview: Getting To Know...

The 2010 MAC Football season is quickly approaching and as part of its preview The MAC would like to give an inside look into the lives of its Student/Athletes. One can find the schedule of Student/Athletes we will preview by scrolling to the bottom of the page or by clicking the "Getting To Know" advertisement on the front of the MAC homepage or football page. Fans can also stay up-to-date with our player features via TwitterFacebook or tje new fan blog at MACFootballNation.com2010 Football 

Be sure to visit www.mac-sports.com on Friday, July 30 to watch live video interviews with the league's head coaches and Student/Athletes as it kicks off the season with the 2010 MAC Football Preview at Detroit's Ford Field.

Getting To Know...Buffalo's Domonic Cook
Domonic Cook is a senior defensive back for the Buffalo Bulls.  Cook, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., started all 12 games last season and ranked fourth on the team with 55 tackles and led the club with 10 passes defensed.  Cook also added 1.5 tackles for loss, one interception and one forced fumble...Below is a closer look at the Buffalo starting defensive back...

1. How did you start playing football?
I All my uncles and my whole family played football.  So I started when I was four-years old.  They just threw me out there one day and I liked it and I never stopped.  I've been playing ever since. 

2. What is your favorite food?
Chicken finger sub. 

3. What would your superhero name be?
The Chef.

4. When you were a little kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An NFL player.

5. What is the best class you've taken?
Sign Language.

6. What is your favorite television show?
The Game.

7. What is the artist that takes up most of your iPod?
Lil Wayne.

8. What person in histroy would you most like to meet?
Martin Luther King.

9. What actor would play you in the movie of your life?
Denzel Washington.  He's the best.

10. What was your first job?
In eighth grade I was a summer camp counselor for kids.

HOS campers get ready for their next drill at St. John West Shore

Campers learn the "HandsOn" way 

through "hand use" in foot-oriented 

sport here at St. John West Shore

July 15, 2010

By Norm Weber

Student/Athlete-Cleveland Editor



WESTLAKE – One of the largest of the 26 Otto Orf HandsOnSoccer Camps has been going on this week at St. John-West Shore Hospital here with 79 youth campers learning from the seven college and professional coaches..

Watch St. John West Shore HOS campers ask Student/Coach Repas questions by clicking and downloading


Today here Youth Student/Athletes participated in a number of scrimmaging drills designed to enhance heading ability and getting into open space to be in better position of receiving a pass under the tutelage of former MLS player John Ball, Kent State Student/Athlete Megan Repas (Avon High alumna), Mount Vernon-Nazarene S/A Rachael Coyne (Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy), Ryan Cook (CVCA, Calvin College), Brock Kerlo, and Sarah Tubbesing.

Student/Coach Sarah Tubbesing gets campers ready to scrimmage

Tubbesing just graduated from Parma High and will be playing for Mount Union in the fall. This is Tubbesing’s first week of passing knowledge down from the high school and college ranks to the youth level for HOS although she has played for Otto in the Futsal Leagues.

Watch St. John West Shore HOS toddler/primary campers aided by Student/Coach Tubbesing in putting on scrimmage bibs by clicking and downloading


With it being her first time, Tubbesing worked mainly with the toddlers and primary grade S/As.

Parma High alumna Sarah Tubbesing

Listen to interview of Student/Athlete and HOS Student/Coach Sarah Tubbesing conducted by Norm Weber by clicking on link below and downloading


Also, this is Ball’s first time around as a camp instructor after playing in the pros for 15 seasons, including as a teammate of Orf’s.


Listen to interview of HOS coach John Ball conducted by Norm Weber by clicking on link below and downloading 


As a college Student/Athlete, Ball played on an NCAA Division II National Championship team at Southern Connecticut State. Ball will be working with Orange High School’s girls’ soccer teams in the fall.

Watch short video of St. John West Shore HOS campers learn how to get open from Coach Kerlo by clicking and downloading


One game the campers played today was called “handball.” While this would make sense with Cook, who has been working with the goalies all summer, because it helps them  in getting the ball out after a save or other restart, it might not for the field players in such a foot-oriented and “hands-off” sport.

Student/Coach Repas gets players ready for heading drill

However, it is a helpful game for the field players here at none other than a “HandsOn” camp. Playing a game in which they pass the ball like in basketball but without the dribbling actually helps players get stronger in getting open for a pass. Also the “catch “is that a goal cannot be scored by throwing the ball into the goal, but instead it has to be headed or batted past the keeper.

Watch short video of St. John West Shore HOS campers play the handball game coordinated by Student/Coaches Repas and Coyne by clicking and downloading


They have to take three steps and throw in the handball drill.

In the middle-aged youth group, teams were broken down into a girls and a boys team. The boys picked the team name Smasher-killers and the girls picked TeamMachine.

It helps in both heading for passing and for scoring. A pass can be caught with the hands and then relayed, but it can also be redirected by heading.

Watch short video of St. John West Shore HOS campers do the header drill by Student/Coaches Repas and Coyne by clicking and downloading


Other header drills included a player running toward the goal, a coach lofting the ball upon arrival and the player running in left with the challenge of heading the ball past the keeper.


Fairview’s Maggie Moran is participating in her first HOS camp. A goalie, Moran thought that since Orf was a keeper in his playing days that the tidbits learned here could be invaluable once incorporated into her own game.

Watch short video of Moran make a save while the rest of St. John West Shore HOS campers scrimmage by clicking and downloading


 A Fairview Middle School S/A, Moran has been playing club for Concordia and Cleveland Kickers.

Listen to interview of Student/Athlete Maggie Moran conducted by Norm Weber by clicking on link below and downloading





Logan Yessayan, who will be in third grade at Dover Elementary School in the fall, talked about the foot skills he’s learned here. The seven-year-old plays for a Westlake community team.

Listen to interview of Student/Athlete Logan Yessayan conducted by Norm Weber by clicking on link below and downloading


For coverage of previous HOS camps this summer, check the A Pages of June 22, June 29, June 30, July 5 and July 6 by clicking on those A Pages on the left pane here.