COLUMBUS — The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced on Sunday that 664 high school football teams have opted for the expanded postseason that begins on Oct. 9-10.
The OHSAA also announced new regional alignments.
In a normal season, 224 schools qualify for the playoffs, with eight schools from each of 28 regions earning a bid through the OHSAA’s Harbin computer ratings system.
That system was scrapped for this fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the OHSAA announced in August that all teams can qualify.
The new regions are posted on the OHSAA website.
The OHSAA said 45 of 709 teams opted out, including Sebring, Mathews, East Palestine, Southington, Waterloo and Windham. Those schools have chosen to extend their regular seasons against other teams opting out or eliminated.
Based on the recommendation from Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health, the OHSAA shortened the football season. The championship games are scheduled to end by Nov. 21.
On Sept. 29-30, the head coaches in each region will vote to seed the teams in their region. The process is similar to what the OHSAA uses in other sports.
The OHSAA will then place teams on brackets on Oct. 1. With various numbers of schools in each region, many of the higher seeds will have a first-round bye in most regions.
Once the brackets are set, the top team on the bracket of the specific game will have the first opportunity to host the game throughout the regional playoffs. If the top team on the bracket cannot host, the other team will host the game.
The OHSAA will determine sites for the state semifinals and state championships.
If a team is unable to play a playoff game on the assigned day according to the bracket, its opponent will advance on the bracket.
Playoff games will be held on Friday and Saturday nights beginning October 9-10. Divisions, I, II, III and VII will play on Friday nights. Divisions IV, V and VI will play on Saturday nights.
Schools eliminated from the playoffs or that choose not to enter have the option to schedule additional regular-season contests through Nov. 14 (a maximum of 10 regular-season contests permitted).
Spectator capacity limits will be in place for the OHSAA football playoffs for each game. Details will be announced soon.