Columbus - Following a recommendation this week from the Governor’s Office to shorten the season due to concerns that COVID-19 may spike in early winter, the Ohio High School Athletic Association announced Friday that if high school football games are approved by the Governor, all teams will enter the playoffs beginning October 9th and the state championship games will be played no later than November 21st.
The OHSAA Board of Directors, which assisted OHSAA staff to create the proposal and approved it by a 9-0 vote, considers this a win-win situation for all schools since it will not matter how many games each team has played leading up to the playoffs. Instead of the computer ratings system determining which teams qualify for the playoffs, the coaches in each region will conduct a tournament seed meeting the week of September 28th to form the regional bracket, similar to the process in other OHSAA team sports.
Schools may keep their first six previously scheduled games, but all regular-season football contracts are now voidable by either school, especially in the event that conferences redo their league schedules to fit into the first six weeks. In addition, the OHSAA will determine new playoff regions in September. Schools that are eliminated from the playoffs may continue to schedule regular-season games up until November 14th.
Schools that have currently paused sports could still begin their season in September or early October and compete in the playoffs. Schools are not required to enter the playoffs if they would rather play regular-season games up until November 14.
“To both ensure we can offer students the opportunity to participate in education-based athletes but do so with their best interests in mind, we believe this modified plan offers a positive solution by addressing many of the concerns of our member schools,” said Jeff Cassella, president of the OHSAA Board of Directors and athletic administrator at Mentor High School. “Those that are able to start their seasons on time will be able to do so. Those that are starting later can still have a season. Add in the option of all schools entering the playoffs and the possibility of schools still being able to play 10 regular season contests, and this plan is helpful to virtually all of our schools.”
The highest number of responses to one of the questions posed of superintendents, principals and athletic administrators in a recent OHSAA membership survey indicated that nearly 60 percent (890 of 1,498 respondents) favored either reducing the regular season and maintaining full OHSAA tournaments or maintaining the full regular season and maintaining full OHSAA tournaments.
A decision on spectators at contact sports has not yet been made, however the OHSAA believes that at a minimum parents should be permitted to attend.
For additional questions and answers regarding the modified OHSAA football season, please click here.
2020 OHSAA Football
• Regular-season games will begin the week of August 24th (same regular-season starting date).
• All teams eligible to enter the OHSAA playoffs. New regions will be determined in September.
• Number of playoff rounds dependent upon the number of schools entering the playoffs in each division. Coaches in each region will seed all playoff teams in the region to form a bracket, similar to other OHSAA sports.
• Schools eliminated from the OHSAA playoffs or that choose not to enter the OHSAA playoffs have the option to schedule additional regular season contests through Saturday, November 14th (maximum of 10 regular season contests permitted).
• Regular season Week 1: Week of August 24th
• Regular season Week 2: Week of August 31st
• Regular season Week 3: Week of September 7th
• Regular season Week 4: Week of September 14th
• Regular season Week 5: Week of September 21st
• Regular season Week 6: Week of September 28th
• Playoffs begin Friday, October 9th
• State finals end no later than Saturday, Nov. 21st
Other Playoff Details
• Playoff seeding will be via a vote of the coaches the week of September 28th (Harbin Ratings suspended for 2020 season)
• All playoff contests through the regional semifinals (and possibly the regional finals) will be hosted by the higher seeded team
• Schools must commit to participate in the playoffs by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, September 17th.
• Playoff regions will be drawn on Friday, September 18th.
• Schools may withdraw from the playoffs without penalty until Thursday, September 24th.
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