Bob Huelsman
Bob Huelsman

Bob Huelsman is a former high school teacher, coach and administrator, serving for more than three decades at Covington High School, in Miami County. In his 13 years as head basketball coach at Covington, Huelsman won 228 games and five times guided the Buccaneers to the regional round of the state tournament. Currently, he serves as the associate athletic director at Newton High School, and treasurer for the Southwest District Athletic Board. A former member of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Control, Huelsman’s broad background in athletic administration has won the respect of his peers statewide.


The question is how to eliminate the unsportsmanlike impact of lopsided games in the opening rounds of the girls’ tournament.  The answer is not so apparent.

With the OHSAA girls’ basketball tournament going on at this time, it has come to my attention that there seems to be more and more blow-outs than ever before. Maybe these major score differentials have always been there, and I just never noticed.

Some of this is due to the way the OHSAA have all tournaments follow the seeding process, similar to NCAA seeding—all teams are seeded and usually the best teams play the worst teams in early rounds.

Although girls basketball has been part of the OHSAA tournaments since 1976 (35 years), some girl basketball programs lag far behind other programs. Lack of shooting skills and a propensity to turn the ball over, creates scores like 63-9, 100-30, 87-17, 67-11, 91-18 etc.

The list could go on and on, with scores like this, from first and second round tournament games. This year alone, there were 30 to 40 opening round scores (1st & 2nd round games) of large differentials in the southwest. In the state, maybe 200 demoralizing scores!

The OHSAA continually strives to create an atmosphere of good sportsmanship. They talk about it, have awards for it, have seminars to encourage it, and announce it prior to games. But once the game begins, look out!

Lopsided scores are difficult for the team getting it handed to them, and also for the team dishing it out. Both coaches are in a tough spot. What to do about it is the proverbial $64,000 question.

The OHSAA has “mercy” rules in place for football (running clock) when the game is getting out of hand and a ten-run rule in baseball and softball after 5 innings. Why not develop a rule for basketball?

A suggestion would be to have a running clock, if one team is ahead of another by 30 points, and maybe end the game if the differential becomes 40 points. Who needs to lose by 70 points?

I know that some of the basketball purist will not like this idea, and will claim if a school doesn’t want to get embarrassed, they should get better. This is easier said than done!

Of course, Press Pros publisher Sonny Fulks will say, that suspect teams should not be allowed in the tournament in the first place.
I say, the entire tournament organization would be impossible to maintain. One would not know until one week prior, who is in and who is out.

Assignment of teams, officials, sites, programs, presale tickets, workers, etc. would all be impossible to organize, if you didn’t know who was in the tournament. Sorry, Sonny!

Going on six or seven years (off and on) now, the OHSAA still has not made a decision on the football playoff Division I issue. As soon as they get close, someone else comes forward to throw a monkey wrench into the proposal.

Now, after the Division I committee made a decision on what to do, the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association/OHSAA Football Tournament Committee has asked the Board of Directors not to adopt any expansion of the current tournament format.

In addition, they have also asked that the Board of Directors to give them until July 1 to develop a reclassification concept (football only) that could move a team up a division(s) if the majority of its regular season schedule is against schools in higher divisions.

And last, that beginning in 2013, Harbin computer points only be earned by defeating schools that are members of the OHSAA or one of the other 50 state associations under the National Federation of State High School Associations. This would mean teams out of Canada would be eliminated.

It is hard to criticize the OHSAA for taking its time, trying to get this right, but come on, six going on seven years is long enough!