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.
“In all sports, I think you would see that bottom of the bracket still win some,” Savely told the board.
Smaller schools in the upper half won fast-pitch softball (Southmoore), volleyball (Edmond Santa Fe) and cross country (Norman North).
Balenseifen's data also said Class 6A's smallest school, Claremore, is nearly three times closer in size to the state's smallest school, Lone Wolf, than it is to Broken Arrow, the state's largest school.
That, he says, is an unfair situation. The board, though, wants to examine the inequities in all classes with the committee, which will include Balenseifen.
Also included in the committee will be a representative from each quadrant, three board members, one representative from a multi-high school district, two OSSAA staff members and two non-athletic activity representatives.
“I understand with 6A and the ADM and the discrepancy what a big gap that is,” OSSAA executive director Ed Sheakley said. “I think that's the challenge, trying to make it fair for everybody, not just the 16 schools and 17-32 because I think there's some other inequities when it comes to a number of schools in other classifications that can claim the same thing.”
The committee will examine each activity, even if it's not classified as a sport. Looking at football, though, has yet to be determined.
“Don't know,” Sheakley said. “I think that probably right now that will have to be determined by the committee whether football will be included or excluded in this. Football is already split; that wasn't the complaint.”
Balenseifen was pleased to keep the conversation going, even if it has expanded.
“This is not about putting money into programs, this is not about anything else, it's strictly about the number of students,” he said. “We're concerned about all students in this state.”