The VASJ boys basketball team will not repeat as Division III state champions next March in Columbus.
Not because the Vikings aren’t talented enough to make a run at the program’s eighth state championship, but because Coach Babe Kwasniak and company will be participating in the Division II tournament.
New divisional assignments for the 2017-18 winter sports of basketball and wrestling were released June 8 by the Ohio High School Athletic Association. For the first time, Competitive Balance roster data was used in determining divisional assignments in basketball, which is the only OHSAA winter sport affected by the Competitive Balance regulation that OHSAA member schools adopted by referendum vote in 2014.
VASJ has been moved from Division II up to Division III in boys basketball.
“That’s fair and equitable,” Kwasniak said of the new divisional assignment.
“I’m just going to say a prayer that we get to play at the Canton Fieldhouse at some point again – that is the best venue in high school sports.”
The Vikings have owned the Canton Fieldhouse the last five years, winning five consecutive regional championships – one in Division IV and the last four in Division III. The Division II regional tournament is held at the Canton Civic Center, the home of the Canton Charge.
VASJ is the only program in Ohio to win a state basketball title in all four divisions. Of the Vikings’ seven state championships, three have come in Division II (1992, 1994, 1995).
The divisional breakdowns in wrestling and basketball were approved by the OHSAA Board of Directors June 1 during their June meeting. Additional divisional breakdowns for the 2017-18 winter sports of swimming and bowling will be announced in August.
Division assignments are based on gender-specific enrollment numbers provided to the OHSAA by the Ohio Department of Education. Enrollment figures are then modified in the sports football, volleyball, soccer, basketball, softball and baseball based on Competitive Balance roster data submitted by each school.
More information on Competitive Balance is posted at: http://www.ohsaa.org/School-Resources/Competitive-Balance-Resource-Center