The final weekend of the high school football season will have an altered look in the fall.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Directors approved a recommendation to add a state final to Thursday of title weekend. The added day is necessary because of the previous decision to add a seventh division for football.
The first game will be Thursday night, with three apiece to follow Friday and Saturday as has been tradition since the state went to six divisions in 1994. The games again will be played at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon and Fawcett Stadium in Canton in the fall. The games will be at Ohio Stadium in Columbus in 2014 and ’15.
The state approved the proposal for a seventh division in 2012. The biggest 72 schools now will compete in Division I, with other schools potentially dropping a division. The OHSAA previously has said the seventh division likely will be scrapped if a proposal to split the state tournaments into public and private school divisions is passed by the state’s principals in May.
The Division I state final annually is Saturday night, and the Division II final is Friday night. The other four finals rotate time and date. The OHSAA has yet to assign times, dates and sites for this year’s finals. This past fall, Newark Catholic’s Division VI final against Maria Stein Marion Local was played at 11 a.m. Friday.
The OHSAA board also approved a recommendation Thursday to change the classification for schools in cross country. Because many schools only have one coach, teams were forced to compete without a head coach present if the boys and girls qualified to different regional sites.
Starting in the fall, cross country classification will be determined by adding the enrollment figures for each school’s boys and girls, and that number will be halved. In 2012, none of the area schools had boys and girls teams in separate divisions.
Teams, however, often have been split because of regional assignments. Central District teams qualified to regionals at Pickerington and Troy in Divisions II and III this year.
Among other items discussed by the board of directors included a pair of proposals by respective state coaches associations. Both items will be voted upon in April.
The state’s golf coaches have asked the OHSAA to consider a change in when coaches can talk to their players during competition. Coaches only have been allowed to talk to players between holes. Coaches are proposing a change to allow them to talk competitors anytime with the exception of when they are on the green or in the sand.
The state’s volleyball coaches have asked for two minor changes. They would like to increase their number of competition dates from 20 to 22 for a 22-match season, and they would like to have the option of playing best-of-5 matches on days when multiple matches are scheduled.