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The Ohio Supreme Court Holds That Lower Courts May Hear Cases And Grant Temporary Restraining Orders Involving OHSAA Rules

In the case of Ohio High School Athletic Assn. v. Ruehlman, Slip Opinion No. 2019-Ohio-2845, the Ohio Supreme Court held that a common pleas court may hear a case barring implementation of the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s (“OHSAA”) new competitive-balance rules.

In this case, the OHSAA established and sought to implement new rules that would substantially alter division placement for private schools. Several private schools initiated litigation against the OHSAA in common pleas court seeking to bar implementation of the new rules, and the common pleas court granted a temporary restraining order barring implementation of the new rules by the OHSAA.

In response, the OHSAA petitioned the Ohio Supreme Court to bar the temporary restraining order and prohibit the common pleas court from further ruling on the case. The Ohio Supreme Court found that the Ohio Constitution grants the common pleas court the right to hear “all matters at law and in equity that are not denied to it.” Ruehlman at ¶ 7. The Ohio Supreme Court also determined that the common pleas court had the right to hear the case and grant the temporary restraining order given that no statute denied such a right to the common pleas court.

It should be noted that the Ohio Supreme Court did not decide that the common pleas court could actually grant the relief the private schools were seeking – i.e., stop the OHSAA from implementing the new rules. Rather, the Ohio Supreme Court simply ruled that the common pleas court may hear the case.

To read this case, click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.


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