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High schools: Discussions continue on whether to split all classifications

The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association board votes to form a 13-person committee to study reclassification.
by Jacob Unruh Published: February 12, 2014

Armed with more statistical information, Dick Balenseifen made another presentation regarding the inequities in Class 6A to the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association board of directors on Wednesday.

His proposal is to divide the class in all sports similar to the Class 6A football split that begins in the fall. For the second straight meeting, the result wasn't exactly what the Putnam City Schools athletic director had hoped.

The board voted to form a 13-person committee to study reclassification across all classes in all OSSAA activities.

“It's a step in the right direction,” Balenseifen said. “We do have to represent all of the kids in the state of Oklahoma. It's not just about the bottom half of Class 6A or the top half of 6A, it's about everyone.

“But I think the statistics that (Bishop McGuinness athletic director) Gary Savely and the other people working with our group all put together, they clearly indicate we have a problem.”

Balenseifen said 89.5 percent of the 6A championships were won by the upper half of schools in the class over the last 10 years, a number more than 20 percent higher than any other class.

By comparison, Class 5A-B titles are won by the upper half of the class just 51 percent of the time.

“I say doing nothing is completely wrong,” Balenseifen told the board. “I do not know if I have all of the answers, but I'm 100 percent sure that if we do nothing, that in five years the top half of 6A is going to continue the domination of the bottom half of 6A. I have 17 years of proof, so doing nothing is wrong.”

His data showed that smaller Class 6A schools are as handicapped in other sports than football, which has been won by Jenks or Tulsa Union the past 18 seasons.

That resulted in a split into two divisions voted on by the board last spring. Balenseifen is using that model for his proposal.

But board members such as Jay McAdams of Kingston and Bill Seitter of Watonga raised concerns about inequalities in other classes and if a split would really fix the problem for the upper half of the schools.

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by Jacob Unruh
Jacob Unruh is a graduate of Northeastern State University. He was born in Cherokee and raised near Vera where he attended Caney Valley High School.During his tenure at NSU, Unruh wrote for The Northeastern (NSU's student newspaper), the...
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