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OHSAA announces new football regions and playoff information

COLUMBUS – The Ohio High School Athletic Association has announced new regional alignments for the upcoming football playoffs after 664 schools opted in for the postseason. In a normal season, 224 schools qualify for the playoffs, with eight schools from each of 28 regions earning a bid through the OHSAA’s Harbin computer ratings system, which will not be used this season.
The new regions are posted at: https://www.ohsaa.org/Sports-Tournaments/Football/Football-2020
Originally, there were 709 schools that indicated they planned to contend for a playoff bid this season playing 11-man football, but the COVID-19 pandemic has caused some schools to start their seasons later or end early. Based on the recommendation from Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health, the OHSAA shortened the football season.
PLAYOFF SCHEDULE AND FORMAT
On September 29 and 30, the head coaches in each region will vote to seed the teams in their region. The OHSAA will then place teams on brackets on October 1. With various numbers of schools in each region, many of the higher seeds will have a first-round bye in most regions.
Once the brackets are set, the top team on the bracket of the specific game will have the first opportunity to host the game throughout the regional playoffs. If the top team on the bracket cannot host, the other team will host the game. The OHSAA will determine sites for the state semifinals and state championships.
If a team is unable to play a playoff game on the assigned day according to the bracket, its opponent will advance on the bracket.
Playoff games will be held on Friday and Saturday nights beginning October 9-10. Divisions, I, II, III and VII will play on Friday nights. Divisions IV, V and VI will play on Saturday nights.
As a reminder, 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 14 (maximum of 10 regular season contests permitted).
MEDIA COVERAGE
The OHSAA encourages media coverage of all games and working media members are not counted toward the capacity limits for spectators. For press box access during playoff games, host sites should follow the OHSAA priority seating instructions posted at: https://www.ohsaa.org/Portals/0/Sports/Football/FBMediaPressBoxMemo.pdf
Approval and placement of media members will be determined by the host school Athletic Director depending on the layout of the facility, including how many people are permitted in the press box. In small press boxes, due to social distancing regulations, there may not be space available for media.
At field level, media members must be outside the team box, which has been expanded this season to span from the 10-yard line to the opposite 10-yard line. Media must also stay at least two yards back from the in-play field boundary.
Media must wear a facial covering at all times. As always, media should contact the host school’s Athletic Director well in advance of game day to request permission to attend and, if approved, discuss their placement and access during the game. Media are not permitted in the locker room.
BROADCASTS
Spectrum News 1 is the official television partner of the OHSAA and will select several playoff games each weekend to televise live. Only Spectrum can provide live television coverage of OHSAA football playoff games.
All other television broadcasts can start at 10:00 p.m. the same day as the game, with rights fees determined by the OHSAA.
Live video streaming will be permitted for games not selected by Spectrum News 1 at rates set by the OHSAA, which will be announced later in September.
SEASON SCHEDULE AND FORMAT
Please see the OHSAA’s press release from August 24 regarding changes to the season schedule and format, game management changes, suggested public address announcements and spectator limitations due to COVID-19: https://ohsaa.org/news-media/articles/noting-the-start-of-the-ohsaa-football-season
The August 24 release also included important dates for the 2021 season, which will start a week early due to the expanded playoff field, as announced May 22: https://www.ohsaa.org/Sports/News/ohsaa-to-expand-football-playoffs-in-2021
OHSAA COVID-19 GUIDANCE CENTER
All sports in Ohio – at all levels – are under the direction of the latest Ohio Department of Health order signed August 19 by Governor DeWine. The order and additional guidance from the ODH and OHSAA are posted at: https://www.ohsaa.org/Home/OHSAA-COVID-19-Correspondence
Spectator capacity limits will be in place for the OHSAA football playoffs for each game. Details will be announced soon.