The 2020 Ohio high school football season will be played in a modified format if games are allowed to proceed forward this fall.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced Friday that the season is set to begin during the final week of August as scheduled, but the regular season will be shortened to six games while the playoffs – which all schools will be eligible for – will begin in early October.
#OHSAA FOOTBALL - The 2020 season will be adjusted if games are approved by the Governor and Ohio Department of Health. The Board of Directors voted 9-0 to accept the proposal, which gives schools the best chance to have a season, if approved. https://t.co/rsHMP4Ti2h pic.twitter.com/nnGrhbfIuO— OHSAASports (@OHSAASports) August 7, 2020
The Ohio Governor's Office and Department of Health still need to sign off on the resumption of contact sports competitions between schools, which has not happened yet, but OHSAA interim executive director Bob Goldring said the move to end the season early was made based on recommendations from those parties.
“In continuing our constructive, ongoing conversations with the Governor’s Office, we were advised this week that ending our season earlier in football was in the best interest of the participants due to the uncertainty of what colder weather could do to COVID‐19 cases,” Goldring wrote in his memo to OHSAA members. “Therefore, our Board of Directors today approved a modification to the OHSAA football season that we believe will be a win‐win for all parties. It should be noted (and as previously communicated) that school vs. school competition in football (and the other contact sports of soccer and field hockey) will not move forward unless the Ohio Director of Health’s Order is amended.”
Schools will also have the option of scheduling up to 10 regular-season football games if they choose not to participate in the playoffs or if they are eliminated from the playoffs early, but all regular-season games must be played no later than Nov. 14 while the state finals will be held no later than Nov. 21.
“This raises the possibility of schools generating some revenue through gate receipts, and allowing schools to play after being eliminated from the playoffs is similar to regulations that already exist for many other OHSAA sports,” Goldring wrote. “Additionally, this means schools that may be delayed in starting their seasons could still have a football season.”
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Friday that he will make an announcement next week pertaining to high school, college and professional sports in the state of Ohio.
Should the season be able to be played this fall, that would be good news for Ohio State commits like Pickerington North defensive end Jack Sawyer, who plans to enroll early and would not play his senior season of high school football if the season was moved to spring. Pickerington North is currently scheduled to play Massillon Washington – and another Ohio State commit, wide receiver Jayden Ballard – in the season opener for both teams on Aug. 30, though it's uncertain exactly how Ohio high school football teams will adjust their schedules in shortening their regular seasons to six games.