Last season marked the first time since 1980 that all Division I high school football playoff games throughout the state were scheduled for Friday nights.
The state’s largest schools were joined by Divisions II, IV and VI teams in the postseason on Fridays last fall, and that group could have even more company on that night this fall.
During its board meeting June 1, the Ohio High School Athletic Association is expected to vote on whether to schedule all playoff games for Fridays through the first four weeks of the postseason.
The state championship games for Ohio’s seven divisions would remain spread over three days — Nov. 30, Dec. 1 and Dec. 2. They will be held at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton the next two years.
Lagging attendance and a lower number of schools willing to host neutral-site playoff games on Saturdays in recent years are among the reasons the OHSAA is considering the change.
In addition, there are more neutral sites available on Fridays, as well as more accredited officials who would be able to work the extra games that night than as recently as “five to 10 years ago,” commissioner Dan Ross said while speaking with members of the media May 10.
“I do like (the possible change),” Ross said. “There are more and more sites saying they wouldn’t do a Saturday game and that it’s harder to get workers because of college football. Division I attendance was higher last year than it was in past years, and Division III (which moved from Fridays to Saturdays) went down.”
could end later
Another change that could be announced at the June board meeting involves the baseball and softball postseasons.
According to Ross, the OHSAA board of directors is considering starting the postseasons of those two sports two weeks later beginning in 2019.
The baseball season is 42 days long this spring and teams are allowed to play 27 regular-season games, but bad weather has kept most area teams under that threshold.
Starting the postseason later in the spring should provide better weather when the most important postseason games are played.
If the proposal passes, the state tournaments in baseball and softball in 2019 would run June 13-15.
“I talked to a superintendent yesterday whose team hadn’t been able to play in 10 days,” Ross said. “They’re going to vote on whether baseball would be moved back two weeks, or this board could table it. I would say that if it passes, it would be for both baseball and softball.”