VANDALIA — The Butler football team’s stay in Division III lasted less than two months.
On Thursday, the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) released revised enrollment figures that place the Aviators back in Division II.
The Aviators will rejoin local schools Fairborn, Miamisburg, Sidney, Stebbins, Tecumseh, Troy, West Carrollton, and Xenia as part of 24 schools playing for eight coveted playoff spots in Region 6.
“We may be back in Division II, but it doesn’t change the numbers,” said Butler head coach Greg Bush. “Most of the teams on our schedule that will be Division III we will still be just barely larger than them, maybe by 10-20 kids. It does change in postseason play where there will obvioulsy be schools that are much larger than us.”
Another area it could affect the Aviators is in the playoff calculation formula which doesn’t credit wins against teams in lower divisions as much as it does wins against teams in or above a team’s division. This affects Butler because many teams on their schedule, including league foes, are Division III. On paper, the Aviators are “playing down” in those games which, if on the playoff bubble, could hurt them.
“A point here and a point there could mean we are on the outside looking in,” said Bush, “because even though we may be beating a school with 20 kids less than us, we only get a half a point for that Friday night. Now, if those teams have winning seasons, it will take care of itself, but if they don’t, that can be a problem.
“It’s not going to change how we approach things, it’s not going to change how we approach Friday night,” Bush continued. “If you don’t do well in your regular season schedule, then what division you are in doesn’t matter. And if you have done a good job of scheduling and win, then you should get in to the playoffs. There are some teams who have a schedule that, even if they win, they may or may not get in. We are in a position with our schedule that if we win we should be in.”
The move comes after the OHSAA Board of Directors decison last week to not count charter school, community school, and STEM school students in a district’s enrollment figures even though they have the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities at their local public school. Those students were given the opportunity to participate after the passage of House Bill 487 in 2014.
In a press release last week, OHSAA Commissioner Dan Ross said that few students take advantage of the opportunity to participate and, as a result, the Board of Directors thought it best not to include them in the enrollment count.
“Simply put, the decision to include charter school students was based on our longstanding past practice of counting kids who had participation opportunities,” OHSAA Commissioner Dr. Dan Ross said. “We were not wrong to make that decision at the time, but the feedback we’ve received from many member schools across the state about the negative impact this had on tournament divisional movement for schools, combined with the belief that so few of these students currently take advantage of these participation opportunities, made us realize it is best for us to study this issue further. This is a new issue we now have to address and has many ramifications. I give extreme credit to our board, which is comprised of elected school administrators from around the state, for recognizing that and changing the course in this particular area.”
Under the previous calculation released in June, Butler was placed in Division III based on an enrollment figure of 415 boys in grades 9-11. The new figure is 388, yet that places the Aviators back in Division II which includes schools with male enrollment between 361-580 students. Butler will again be one of the smaller Division II schools in Region 6.
Sidney, with enrollment of 370, is the smallest school in the Region followed by Winton Woods with 374. The largest schools in the Region are Princeton with 575, Loveland with 570, Walnut Hills with 569, and Miamisburg, who dropped from Division I, with 541.
The Aviators have been Division I in all other sports, and that did not change.