OHSAA announces 6-game high school football season in Ohio, but Gov. Mike DeWine must sign off on plan

Some parents say some football is better than none at all.
Updated: Aug. 7, 2020 at 5:07 PM EDT
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• Regular-season games will begin the week of August 24 (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.

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) on Friday announced a shortened six-game football season, which, pending Gov. Mike DeWine’s approval, will kick off on Aug. 24.

Dax Evans is the father of a sophomore football player still trying to determine where he’ll play this year, “Six games, three games the kids want to play. You can tell them they’ll be one game and then the playoffs and they’ll be like I’m ready. Football players are football players and when the season comes around they’re ready to play football.”

Evans say as long as the schools follow all the safety guidelines he supports the proposal.

If the shortened season is approved by DeWine, all teams would enter the playoffs beginning Oct. 9, and the state championship games would be played no later than Nov. 21.

The news comes after DeWine recommended a shorter season due to concerns that covid-19 cases may spike in early winter.

Evans says he also supports moving ahead with the football season, even if it is limited, because some students are relying on it for possible scholarships down the line to further their education.

“Yes, because it counts towards them being able to get in to college. As far as them getting the film and recruiters can still see them,” Evans said.

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 28 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 14.

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.

2020 OHSAA Football Schedule

• 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

Other Playoff Details

• Playoff seeding will be via a vote of the coaches the week of September 28 (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 17

• Playoff regions will be drawn on Friday, September 18

• Schools may withdraw from the playoffs without penalty until Thursday, September 24

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