OHSAA Expanding Football Playoffs, Adjusting Regional Format

More teams will qualify for the playoffs starting in 2021.

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(Columbus, Oh.) – The high school football postseason in Ohio will look a little different this fall.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Directors have approved new regulations for the 2021 state football tournament.

The number of playoff qualifiers will increase to 16 schools per region. In addition, the higher seeded team will host first and second round games, instead of only the first round.

Neutral sites will be used beginning with the regional semifinals.

“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 football playoffs began in 1972 when only 12 schools qualified. The expansion will increase the number of football playoff qualifiers from 224 to 448.

In addition, the OHSAA is considering adding a strength of schedule component to the Harbin computer ratings that determine the playoff qualifiers.

The SOS component could be added in 2022.

Ohio’s 2021 football playoffs will take place October 29-December 5.

The first Friday of the regular season is scheduled for August 20.

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