Preseason practices officially begin today (Thursday) for OHSAA member schools for the fall sports of football, girls and boys golf, girls tennis, girls volleyball, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls cross country and girls field hockey.
Updated OHSAA Inclement Weather policy
A modification to the OHSAA’s inclement weather policy is now in effect, which states, “At night under certain atmospheric conditions, lighting flashes may be seen from distant storms. In these cases, it may be safe to continue an event if no thunder can be heard and the flashes are low on the horizon.” Otherwise, if thunder is heard or lightning is seen, outdoor activities shall be suspended for 30 minutes and all personnel, athletes and spectators shall evacuate to available safe structures or shelters.
The full policy is posted at: https://www.ohsaa.org/sports/inclementweatherpolicy .
Head, Heat and Hydration
The OHSAA has many resources and guidelines for schools to take precautions in extreme heat. In addition, the OHSAA reminds student-athletes and coaches to follow the proper medical regulations when there is any chance a concussion may have occurred. Those regulations and other helpful tools are posted at: https://www.ohsaa.org/sportssafety
Football changes, info
In football, 713 schools will field varsity teams this season. Divisional breakdowns, tournament regulations and statewide composite schedules from MaxPreps are posted on the OHSAA football page at: https://www.ohsaa.org/sports/football
A national rule change this season is that a 40-second or 25-second play clock will be used to determine delay of game, depending on the result of the previous play or the officials’ signal. Previously, the ball was marked ready-for-play when, after it had been placed for a down, the referee gave the ready-for-play signal and the 25-second count began.
The first Friday night of the regular-season is Aug. 30. Looking ahead to the playoffs in November, Division I, II, III and VI teams will play on Friday nights, while Division IV, V and VII teams will play on Saturday nights.
All playoff games during the first four rounds will kick off at 7 p.m. The state championship games return to Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton Dec. 5-7.
Football preseason notes
Football teams must follow the five-day acclimatization period. During practices within the acclimatization period, players may wear helmets only on the first two days. On days three and four, helmets and shoulder pads are allowed. From day five onward, full pads are allowed. Prior to the sixth day of practice, no full contact is permitted.
During the first five days of practice, athletes may engage in conditioning, speed, strength and agility drills and may use “dummies” for drills and walk-throughs. All athletes joining the team for the first time at any point during the season must participate in a five-day acclimatization period prior to any contact drills.
Coaches must ensure that there is adequate recovery time between practice sessions. Sundays, Aug. 4 and 11, are mandatory days off. After full contact is permitted, teams must also adhere to the OHSAA’s contact regulations.
A reminder that kickoffs are no longer permitted in freshmen games, and they are only permitted in junior varsity games if both head coaches mutually agree. Kickoffs are already not permitted in junior high games. In games with no kickoffs, the ball will be spotted at the 35-yard line to start halves and after scores. The ball will be spotted at the 50-yard line after a safety.