OHSAA adjusts high school season if football is approved by Governor
by Cassie Mattia
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Governor’s recommendation to shorten Ohio’s High School Football seasons has been approved! The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) announced Friday that due to concerns COVID-19 may spike in the early winter, all Ohio HS football teams will enter into the playoffs on October 9th. The HS State Championship games would be played no later than November 21st. This is only in the event that the Governor’s Office approves Ohio HS Football being played this year.
The proposal for a shorter football regular season was approved by the OHSAA Board of Directors with a 9-0 vote. OHSAA released a press release after the vote saying that they considered the proposal a win-win situation for all schools because it would then not matter how many games each team played leading up to the playoffs.
So how will it be determined which HS football teams qualify for the playoffs you may be asking yourself? Well, instead of using the traditional computer ratings system, coaches in each region will conduct a tournament seed meeting the week of September 28th in order to form the regional brackets. This is very similar to how several other team sports within the OHSAA determine which teams qualify for playoffs.
The shortened football season guidelines state that schools may keep their first six previously scheduled games, but all regular-season football contracts will be now voidable by either school. This is especially important in the event that conferences redo their league schedules so that games will fit into the first six weeks. The OHSAA will also determine new playoff regions in September. Teams that are eliminated from the playoffs may continue to schedule regular-season games up until November 14.
MAC Announces Postponement of Fall Sports
The Mid-American Conference (MAC) has announced the postponement of all scheduled fall contests, as well as MAC championships, due to continuing concerns related to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Read on…
The Big 10 is expected to announce the cancelation of the Fall football season on Tuesday.
Those schools that have paused sports due to COVID-19 are still able to begin their season in September or early October as well as compete in the playoffs. If a school finds that they would rather play regular-season games up until November 14th and not compete in playoffs they are able to do so.
“To both ensure we can offer students the opportunity to participate in education-based athletics 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,” President of the OHSAA Board of Directors and Athletic Administrator at Mentor High School, Jeff Cassella said, “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.”
Here are the most important details in regards to the OHSAA’s modified Ohio HS Football season and changes to the Playoffs process:
- Regular-season games will begin the week of August 24 (same regular-season starting date).
- All teams are eligible to enter the OHSAA playoffs. New regions will be determined in September.
- The number of playoff rounds is 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 those schools that choose not to enter the OHSAA playoffs have the option to schedule additional regular-season contests through Saturday, November 14 (maximum of 10 regular season contests permitted).
- Playoff seeding will be determined via a vote of the coaches the week of September 28 (Harbin Ratings is suspended for the 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 participating in the playoffs by 11:59 PM on Thursday, September 17.
- Playoff regions will be drawn on Friday, September 18.
- Schools may withdraw from the playoffs without a penalty until Thursday, September 24.
Below is what the new modified Ohio HS Football season will look like:
- Regular season Week 1: Week of August 24
- Regular season Week 2: Week of August 31
- Regular season Week 3: Week of September 7
- Regular season Week 4: Week of September 14
- Regular season Week 5: Week of September 21
- Regular season Week 6: Week of September 28
- Playoffs begin Friday, October 9
- State Finals end no later than Saturday, Nov. 21
Still, have questions on OHSAA’s modified football season and the new Playoffs process? Click HERE for all of the Q&A’s!
Thus far the decision on whether or not spectators will be allowed to be present at contact sports this year has not been made yet. The OHSAA stated that “At a minimum, parents should be permitted to attend.”
Luckily four of the OHSAA’s Fall sports, golf, tennis, volleyball, and cross country, have been determined to be low-contact by the Governor’s Office which means these particular sports will be permitted to have contests with other schools. The remaining Fall sports, field hockey, soccer, and football, have been determined to be high-contact, so the OHSAA, the Governor’s Office and the Ohio Department of Health are working together to create a safe game plan so that these three sports may participate in contests with other schools as well.
To get the latest 411 on which of Ohio’s High School sports will be competing this year and the most up to date COVID-19 sports safety protocols stay tuned to the Sports 411 With me, Cassie Mattia!