COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced on Thursday that they will be expanding the football playoffs and adjusting the regional format for games.
The top 16 schools in each region will qualify for the playoffs and the higher-seeded teams will host the first and second-round games.
Neutral sites will then be used beginning with the regional semifinals.
This format was used during the 2020 season after there was a shortened season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“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 OHSAA sport in which not every team automatically qualifies for the postseason.”
The OHSAA also announced that they are exploring adding a strength of schedule component to the Harbin computer ratings, which are currently used to determine playoff qualifiers. They said this addition could come in 2022.
While the site for the state championship games has not yet been decided, the format will include one game on Thursday, December 2 and two games each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, December 3-5.
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 first week of the regular-season is August 20, and the regular-season will wrap up on Saturday, October 23.