OHSAA approves 16 football playoff teams per region

EHS 2001

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OHSAA to Expand Football Playoffs and Adjust Regional Format
Top 16 schools in each region will qualify for playoffs and higher seeded teams will host first and second round games; OHSAA exploring strength of schedule component beginning in 2022

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Directors approved the 2021 football tournament regulations Thursday during its April Board meeting that included proposals from the OHSAA staff to increase the number of playoff qualifiers and change the format of the regional playoffs.

The number of playoff qualifiers will expand to 16 schools per region. In addition, the higher seeded team will host first and second round playoff games, instead of only the first round, before neutral sites are used beginning with the regional semifinals. In the first round, the No. 16 seed will play at the No. 1 seed, the No. 15 seed will play at the No. 2 seed, etc.

“Last fall we received overwhelmingly positive feedback when we allowed every team to enter the football playoffs due to the shortened season because of COVID-19,” said Doug Ute, OHSAA Executive Director. “We know there are some who want to keep the football postseason to a smaller number of schools, but the postseason tournament gives such a positive experience for our student-athletes, the schools and their communities that we felt strongly about giving that opportunity to more schools to make the playoffs. And football remains the only OHSAA sport in which not every team automatically qualifies for the postseason.”

The OHSAA is also exploring adding a strength of schedule component to the Harbin computer ratings, which are used to determine the playoff qualifiers. A strength of schedule component could be added in 2022.

The site of the state championship games has not yet been determined, but the format will include one game Thursday, December 2, and two games each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, December 3-5.

During the regional semifinals and regional finals at neutral sites, the higher seeded team will be the designated home team. The OHSAA then determines the sites and matchups for the state semifinals.

The expansion will increase the number of football playoff qualifiers from 224 to 448. Last year there were 709 schools in Ohio that played 11-man football. Since 1999, eight schools in each region have qualified for the playoffs. In May 2020, the OHSAA announced that the football playoffs would expand to 12 teams per region in 2021 and the top four seeds in each region would have a first-round bye. Expanding to 16 schools per region does not add a week to the postseason since it was already now six weeks, it simply eliminates the byes.

During the first five rounds of the playoffs, Division I, II, III and IV schools will play on Friday nights, while Division V, VI and VII schools will play on Saturday nights.

2021 OHSAA Football Playoff Schedule
October 29-30 – First Round at Higher Seeded Teams
November 5-6 – Regional Quarterfinals at Higher Seeded Teams
November 12-13 – Regional Semifinals at Neutral Sites
November 19-20 – Regional Finals at Neutral Sites
November 26-27 – State Semifinals at Neutral Sites
December 2-5 – State Championships, Site TBD, one game Thursday, two games each day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday

The OHSAA football playoffs began in 1972 when only 12 schools qualified for the playoffs (four schools in each of three classes). Expansion first came in 1980 when the OHSAA changed to five divisions with eight teams each (40 total qualifiers). A sixth division was added in 1994 (96 total qualifiers) and the number of qualifiers was increased to eight schools per region in 1999 (192 total qualifiers). A seventh division was added in 2013 to bring the number of qualifiers to 224.

As a reminder, in January the Board approved the general football regulations, which permit schools to fulfill two of the required five acclimatization days in July in advance of official practice beginning on Sunday, August 1. Two scrimmages are permitted between August 6-14, with either or both scrimmages permitted to be jamboree games.

The first Friday of the regular-season is August 20, and the regular-season will conclude on Saturday, October 23.


The Ohio High School Athletic Association football playoffs will expand to 16 qualifying teams in each region starting this upcoming season.

The OHSAA board of directors approved Thursday morning the number of qualifying teams to 16 per region, according to OHSAA football administrator Beau Rugg.

The OHSAA is expected to announce additional details in a news release this afternoon.
 
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MentorGrad2002

Well-known member
So we are now making the football regular season completely worthless. This on top of d1 and d2 playoffs being the same night and the tv being spectrum only.

Ohsaa is doing their best to ruin the sport

The great thing about football was teams fighting to make the playoffs unlike the other sports that let everyone in. This is why I go to less regular season basketball games. They simply don't matter
 

14Red

Well-known member
All D1 teams make the playoffs, and in most other regions, more than half make the playoffs. How's those week 11 games lookin'?
 

MentorGrad2002

Well-known member
Maybe this will stop the best teams from having to schedule out of state for games since so many teams make the playoffs. But I still won't hold my breath ...

All the schools who would have missed the playoffs or schedule soft will still get killed in the playoffs
 

thavoice

Well-known member
Any game before 3rd round is now completely worthless to attend. Indiana let’s everyone in the playoffs and the matchups are atrocious until 3rd round.
1 vs 16
2 vs 15
3 vs 14
4 vs 13.....


I have ZERO interest in those matchups.
5 vs 12
6 vs 11
7 vs 10
8 vs 9.....

Some of those would have been compelling and a way for those 7-9 win teams left out to proved they belong, but now man there is really not much of a chance.
 

RedEagle

Active member
Under the new OHSAA playoff football format, 2019 1st round match-ups would have included Mentor vs Elyria (1-9), St Ed's vs Shaker Heights (2-8), Xavier vs Middletown (1-9), Pickerington Central vs Lancaster (2-7).
 

LetsGoBig

Active member
God please pray for small school football..............

Marion Local/Coldwater/New Bremen/LCC will win their first two games by 80+ if they wanted. Someone might get killed.

Opening it up will do nothing, but make the strong even stronger and the weak embarrassed a little bit more. Instead of the best teams in small school football getting their players in the first or second round, now they will get them into 3 or even 4 playoff games..
 

ElderHSfan02

Well-known member
Under the new OHSAA playoff football format, 2019 1st round match-ups would have included Mentor vs Elyria (1-9), St Ed's vs Shaker Heights (2-8), Xavier vs Middletown (1-9), Pickerington Central vs Lancaster (2-7).

16 teams is too many. A #1 vs. #16 game is a complete waste of everyone's time. I do not think those 1-9, 2-8, 3-7 teams would even want to play the game. OHSAA should have done 14 teams with #1 and #2 getting a bye.
 

wghfan

Well-known member
Nice. They're rewarding mediocrity, and losing teams with playoffs. Regular season does not have much meaning now. Also making the playoffs shouldn't mean anything much on your teams resume anymore.
 

BirdDog10

Well-known member
God please pray for small school football..............

Marion Local/Coldwater/New Bremen/LCC will win their first two games by 80+ if they wanted. Someone might get killed.

Opening it up will do nothing, but make the strong even stronger and the weak embarrassed a little bit more. Instead of the best teams in small school football getting their players in the first or second round, now they will get them into 3 or even 4 playoff games..
The average score of the round of 16 in region 22 last year was 47-8.....
 
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