OHSAA Executive Director Dan Ross Announces Resignation

Sunbury News Staff Reports

The OHSAA Commissioner since 2004 will step down effective Sept. 15

COLUMBUS – Dr. Dan Ross, Executive Director of the Ohio High School Athletic Association since 2004, has announced his resignation, effective September 15. The OHSAA Board of Directors accepted Dr. Ross’ resignation letter at its regularly scheduled January meeting.

Dr. Ross began his duties as the OHSAA’s ninth commissioner on Aug. 1, 2004. He has worked in education as a teacher, administrator and official since 1971, spanning a career of 48 years that is not yet finished.

“We would like to thank Dr. Ross for all that he has done for the OHSAA and our member schools,” said Paul Powers, president of the OHSAA Board of Directors and athletic administrator at Aurora High School in northeast Ohio. “Dan has done so many great things for high school sports in Ohio and has touched everyone associated with the OHSAA in such a positive way.”

Making ‘education-based athletics’ the pillar of his 14 years at the OHSAA, Dr. Ross plans to continue his passion for education and school sports in other areas. The OHSAA Board of Directors will begin implementing a succession plan and assemble a search committee for the OHSAA’s next executive director.

“I have been so blessed to serve our member schools in this capacity for 14 years,” Dr. Ross said. “I don’t plan to retire from my work of promoting all the positive things that school sports can do for our kids, schools and communities. We’ll see what the future holds for me. It’s time for me to step aside and allow for new leadership of the OHSAA. I would like to thank our current and former staff members and board members who I have worked with during my time at the OHSAA.”

“Dr. Ross has been the perfect person to lead the OHSAA,” Powers said. “He is respected by so many groups, such as administrators, coaches, officials, leaders of the other professional educational associations, lawmakers, the media and his fellow executive directors at other state associations. The list goes on and on. Being the head of an organization that enforces rules and regulations and has to make decisions that are not often popular is difficult. But anyone who has ever come in contact with Dan will tell you that he has made them feel special and always followed the motto that is on the pin he often wears on his lapel that says ‘children first.’”

Under Dr. Ross’ leadership, the OHSAA has added girls and boys bowling, dual team wrestling and girls and boys lacrosse, while also adding additional divisions in girls soccer, girls golf, boys swimming and football. In addition, the OHSAA added events for seated at the state track and field championships beginning in 2013.

In 2011 Dr. Ross began the groundwork for the Competitive Balance initiative in light of a potential split between public and private schools. The Competitive Balance plan was passed by a referendum vote of OHSAA member schools in 2014 and was successfully implemented in 2016.

Dr. Ross has strengthened the OHSAA’s partnerships with other educational service organizations by forming advisory committees with the state school boards, superintendents, principals and athletic administrators associations. He saw the OHSAA expand and diversify its Board of Directors and district athletic boards by adding female, ethnic minority and 7th-8th grade representatives. A standard statewide coaches education program was also adopted, which is required for certification.

Since his arrival, the OHSAA has strengthened its brand and awareness by creating the OHSAA Circle of Champions, increasing statewide television coverage of state tournaments, creating the OHSAA Radio Network, upgrading the OHSAA website and adding OHSAA Magazine.

Dr. Ross served on the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Review Committee and chaired the National Federation of State High School Associations’ (NFHS) 2008-11 Strategic Planning Committee. He has recently been serving on the NFHS Hall of Fame Screening Committee and the Basketball Rules Committee along with the NFHS Foundation Board of Directors. He is also past president and was a member of the executive committee of the Ohio Association of Local School Superintendents, and, as president of the Avon-Avon Lake Rotary Club, he represented Northeast Ohio on a Rotary International service project in Costa Rica. In addition, Dr. Ross was an adjunct professor at Ohio University, Bowling Green State University and Baldwin-Wallace College.

Dr. Ross is a native of Portsmouth, Ohio, and graduated from Columbus St. Charles High School (1967). He holds degrees from Ohio Dominican University (bachelor’s, 1971), Xavier University (master’s, 1973) and Bowling Green State University (Ph. D., 1983). Among the many positions he held prior to joining the OHSAA was superintendent of the Patrick Henry Local Schools (1983-86), Pickerington Local Schools (1986-97) and Avon Lake City Schools (1997-04). He was also a registered OHSAA contest official for 20 years in the sports of baseball, basketball and volleyball. He and his wife, Kris, have four grown children and their spouses, and nine grandchildren.

OHSAA Board of Directors Meeting Highlights

The Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Directors held its regularly scheduled January meeting at the OHSAA office. The following are highlights from the meeting. Complete meeting minutes will be posted at OHSAA.org.

– The board accepted the resignation of OHSAA Executive Director Dr. Dan Ross, effective Sept. 15. Dr. Ross has served as the Commissioner since 2004 and has spent 48 years in education. Please see the full release at: http://bit.ly/2mO11wn

– The board reviewed and approved the divisional breakdowns and tournament representations for the 2018 fall sports that are affected by competitive balance, which include football, volleyball, girls soccer and boys soccer. The lists of schools in each division will be posted at OHSAA.org on Monday, Jan. 22, with a press release. In addition, the board also approved a modification to the business rules for competitive balance to remove the previous regulation that allowed a school to move up only one division due to competitive balance.

– The board was presented with a list of eight high schools that now have their OHSAA membership suspended for the remainder of the 2017-18 school year and the entire 2018-19 school year due to failure to comply with OHSAA Constitution Article 3-3-4, which requires each school to sponsor at least two varsity sports each season, which includes participation in the OHSAA tournament. While on suspension, the schools will have their Arbiter accounts suspended (for contracting officials and other administrative functions), will not receive rule books, will not be covered by the OHSAA’s catastrophic insurance policy and may not participate in any OHSAA tournament for the remainder of the 2017-18 school year or the entire 2018-19 school year. The eight schools can continue to compete in regular-season contests and may return to membership in the fall of 2019 if they can sponsor two varsity sports per season and meet other membership requirements. The eight schools include Cleveland Collinwood, Mount Gilead Christian, Cleveland Horizon Science Academy, Cleveland Jane Adams, Cleveland Martin Luther King Jr., Cleveland Northeast Ohio College Prep, Cincinnati Riverview East Academy and Bellaire St. John Central.

– The board was informed that Harvey Alston, who coordinates the annual OHSAA Foundation Student Leadership Conference, has been selected as the Ohio recipient of the NFHS Award for Outstanding Service Award. He will be recognized at the OHSAA boys basketball state tournament.

– Since the board’s last meeting, 28 member schools were penalized for committing infractions of OHSAA bylaws or sports regulations. The list of infractions and penalties is always included in the complete meeting minutes, but media members may request the list in advance from Tim Stried, OHSAA Director of Communications, at tstried@ohsaa.org.

– The board was presented with the list of Ohio coaches who received national and sectional coach of the year honors for the 2016-17 school year from the National Federation of State High School Coaches Association. Two Ohio coaches were named national coaches of the year, including Upper Arlington’s Wendy Pinta (girls lacrosse) and East Canton’s Tom Loy (boys track and field). In addition, five coaches were named Section 2 (eight-state area) coaches of the year, including Windham’s Marty Hill (boys basketball), Berlin Hiland’s Dave Schlabach (girls basketball), Peninsula Woodridge’s Jeff Howard (boys cross country), Olentangy Liberty’s Jack Hoogeveen (boys ice hockey) and Cincinnati St. Xavier’s Tim Beerman (boys swimming and diving). The 2016-17 NFHS Coaches Association state coaches of the year were announced in October.

– The board reviewed the attendance and financial reports from the fall state tournaments of golf, girls tennis, field hockey, soccer and volleyball. The total attendance at district and state field hockey tournament was 5,110. Attendance at state golf was 3,997, while state girls tennis was 1,249. The six soccer state championship games at MAPFRE Stadium drew 9,017 fans and the volleyball state tournament at Wright State University drew 13,734 fans.

– The board reviewed the list of upcoming open positions on the six District Athletic Boards that will become available this spring. Details will be posted on the OHSAA’s DAB page at: http://www.ohsaa.org/about/districtboards

– The board approved the spring sports preseason manuals and tournament regulations, which will be posted soon on the respective sport pages at OHSAA.org.

– The board approved a change in the start date for golf matches in 2018 to Saturday, August 4, instead of Monday, August 6.


Sunbury News Staff Reports