The Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Directors voted unanimously (8-0) t on Thursday to sanction boys’ and girls’ lacrosse starting with the 2016-17 school year. Lacrosse is a spring sport in Ohio.
The Board did not take action on how many divisions there will be for each gender.
“The members of the subcommittee did an outstanding job studying lacrosse in Ohio and researching the sport both statewide and nationally,” OHSAA Commissioner Dr. Dan Ross said, “and I know they also received tremendous assistance from Paul Balcerzak, commissioner of both the Ohio High School Lacrosse Association (OHSLA) and the Ohio Schoolgirls Lacrosse Association (OSLA). Lacrosse is definitely growing in our state at both the youth and high school levels, and it’s exciting when schools want their sport to be part of our association and also exciting that more students will be able to complement their high school experience with another participation opportunity.”
Dr. Ross told a media advisory committee last week the Board would vote on the sports Thursday.
“It also should be pointed out that the both the boys and girls lacrosse associations have required their membership to adhere to OHSAA Bylaws and Sports Regulations for several years now, so the transition to the OHSAA should be smooth,” Dr. Ross said.
A newly developed category called “emerging” sports has been created by the OHSAA for sports like lacrosse since the sports do not fit into the Association’s “recognized” sports category, which requires at least 150 schools to sponsor a sport.
Currently organized by the OHSLA and OSLA, the 2015 season saw 122 boys’ schools and 118 girls’ schools sponsor lacrosse, with an additional 18 boys’ club teams sponsored. State finals for boys Divisions I and II will take place Saturday, with the Division I and II girls’ finals and the boys’ club division championship concluding last weekend.
As an emerging sport, lacrosse will be handled very similarly to all OHSAA “recognized” sports, with the major exception being that the Board of Directors will conduct an annual assessment of lacrosse to review items such as growth and financial solvency to determine if it will continue as an “emerging” sport; be elevated to a “recognized” sport, or be suspended or discontinued as an “emerging” sport.
The location for the state lacrosse finals in 2017 is yet to be determined.