High School football playoff schedule overhauled

Wayne’s Alex Reigelsperger (30) closes on QB Deshaunte Jones. Wayne defeated Colerain 28-21 in a D-I high school football state semifinal at Mason on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Caption
Wayne’s Alex Reigelsperger (30) closes on QB Deshaunte Jones. Wayne defeated Colerain 28-21 in a D-I high school football state semifinal at Mason on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS

Friday's 7:30 p.m. games: Divisions I, II, IV and VI.

Saturday's 7 p.m. games: Divisions III, V and VII.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association on Thursday approved a major reshuffling of the football playoff schedule for all but one of the seven divisions.

Divisions I, IV and VI playoff games will switch from Saturday to Friday nights. Divisions III, V and VII will move from Friday to Saturday nights. The only division that remains in its original slot is D-II on Friday.

Associate Commissioner Bob Goldring confirmed the OHSAA Board of Directors approved the changes during its regular monthly meeting on Thursday.

ExploreRELATED: D-I split affects GWOC teams

The switch is in response to dwindling attendance on Saturdays during November as the playoffs compete with growing interest in the college football season. OHSAA Commissioner Dr. Dan Ross said during last month’s media advisory meeting in Columbus one or more divisions could be moved from Saturday to Friday on a trial basis.

“It’ll be a pilot to see if this works,” Dr. Ross said. “That would be my recommendation. Friday night is high school football night and we’ll try to get off Saturday as much as we possibly can do. Later in the year more and more colleges are playing more games on Saturday night in November.”

Dr. Ross also mentioned increased interest in Ohio State University football and many of its prime-time games – 8-11 p.m. – on Saturdays as a contributing factor for high school football taking an attendance hit.

Playoff games will be played at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and 7 p.m. on Saturday. That format will remain in place throughout the five postseason rounds with the exception of championship weekend at OSU’s Ohio Stadium in Columbus. One of those Friday title games will be moved to Thursday.

This is the second D-I football playoff tweak the OHSAA has recently made. In its April meeting, the board unanimously approved expanding D-I from two to four regions, like all other divisions. That would add a D-I state semifinal in the fourth round and put “a greater emphasis on the regional championship games and decreased travel,” the OHSAA cited.

Director of media services Tim Stried said an announcement about the playoff changes would be made by the OHSAA next week.

The football preseason begins on Monday, Aug. 1. Most Week 1 games will be played on Friday, Aug. 26.