Starting on time and playing as much as you can is about as much as anyone could hope for. The OHSAA presented that football option on Friday…as it crossed its fingers and held its breath.
Simply put, it amounts to making the best of a bad situation.
The OHSAA came out Friday with an alternative plan for playing football in 2020…by stating that teams could start on time (Aug. 28) and play six regular season games, then start a modified playoff system on Friday, October 29th.
And this will please the T-shirt manufacturers. ‘ALL’ OHSAA teams will be eligible for the playoffs with the coaches in each region conducting a tournament seed meeting the week of September 28 to create a regional bracket, similar to the process in other OHSAA team sports. The Harbin computer rankings system, at least for 2020, will be suspended.
There will be – for this football season – new playoff regions as determined by the OHSAA. And schools that are eliminated from the playoffs may continue to schedule regular-season games up until November 14, guaranteeing that most teams (if they choose) will be able to play a full season.
Playoff football, itself, and championship competition, will be concluded by November 21st. The idea? Get football wrapped up before any anticipated spike with the Covid virus in early winter, as feared by the Ohio Department of Health and Governor Mike DeWine. The above proposal is still subject to approval by the state.
But…except for the possible loss of some key league matchups over the final four weeks of the season, it’s the best of a bad scenario. And additionally, the OHSAA has provided flexibility, in that 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.
Good news? Bad news?
Mostly good, for the fact that if approved it assures coaches and school administration of getting kids back into a normal routine, which 100% of those polled say is of primary importance, along with safe conditions, health-wise.
What’s not known, however, is whether anyone will be allowed to watch, thereby accentuating the fear of shortfalls in schools’ athletic budgets. It’s great to play, but as Three Rivers Conference commissioner (beginning play in 2021), and former Covington AD Roger Craft said on this week’s ‘First Person’ interview…ticket sales are the life blood of high school sports. The OHSAA, however, has maintained that at a minimum parents should be allowed to attend. Additional decisions as to attendance are yet pending.
“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, OHSAA Board of Directors president and athletic director 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.”
All schools will be eligible to compete in the playoffs, bust must commit to participate by Thursday, September 17. Conversely, teams that wish to withdraw from the playoffs must do so my the following week, Thursday, September 24.
For more information regarding the OHSAA announcement, here’s the link: https://www.ohsaa.org/news-media/articles/ohsaa-adjusts-season-if-football-is-approved-by-governor160
“This is better than what I had feared,” said an area coach Friday night. “This makes practice better. It could have been so much worse.”
Exactly! But still…hold your breath.