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OHSAA expanding football playoffs to 16 teams per region

The expansion will increase the number of football playoff qualifiers from 224 to 448.
Credit: David Lee / Shutterstock.com

The Ohio High School Athletic Association will be expanding to 16 qualifying teams in each region starting this fall.

The expansion will increase the number of football playoff qualifiers from 224 to 448.

Also, the higher seeded team will host first and second round playoff games before neutral sites are used beginning with the regional semifinals.

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.

“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.” 

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

The site of the state championship games has not been determined yet but OHSAA says the format will include one game on Dec. 2 and two games on Dec. 3-5.

Currently, the 2021 season is scheduled to begin Aug. 20 and conclude on Oct. 23.