COLUMBUS – The Ohio High School Athletic Association’s Board of Directors has approved the 2016 football tournament regulations, which include moving all Division I football playoff games to Friday nights in November for the first time since 1980. Joining Division I on Friday nights at 7:30 p.m. will be playoff games in Divisions II, IV and VI, while Saturday games will include Divisions III, V and VII at 7 p.m.
For several years, attendance has decreased at Division I games in November, primarily due to some fans opting for college games, which includes more night games. In addition, fewer facilities are available on Saturdays due to other school functions or staff not being available.
“In Ohio’s larger cities where the Division I schools are located, we have been competing with college games and other events on Saturdays, both in terms of fans and facilities being available,” Beau Rugg, OHSAA Assistant Commissioner and football administrator, said. “Moving Division I playoff games to Friday nights has been something our football tournament committee has been thinking about for a couple years. With the endorsement of the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association, we felt it was the right time to make the change, and the OHSAA Board of Directors agreed.”
Since 1980, Division I playoff games have been on Saturdays except for a few games in 2001 and 2006.
A total of 716 schools will begin the season in August aiming for one of 224 playoff berths announced on Sunday, Oct. 30. Approved along with the football tournament regulations are the lists of schools within each division and region, as well as the regional boundary maps. That information is posted on the football page at OHSAA.org: http://www.ohsaa.org/sports/ft/boys/default.asp.
The 2016-17 school year is the second year of the OHSAA’s current two-year enrollment and divisional alignment cycle. During the 2016-17 school year, the OHSAA will again work with the Ohio Department of Education to determine enrollment counts to be used for the next two-year cycle (2017-18 and 2018-19 school years). Those new enrollment numbers will be combined with the competitive balance roster data that schools will submit on a sport-by-sport basis in football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball.
The football tournament regulations were approved by the board at its June meeting last Thursday in Columbus as the OHSAA’s spring state tournaments in baseball, softball and track and field got underway.
Also of note, in April the board approved changing Division I back to a four region format instead of the two region format that existed in 2013-15.