By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
In July, the Ohio High School Athletic Association announced it was changing its playoffs scheduling format.
In 2022, the first two rounds were played on Friday nights and the next three rounds were split between Friday (Divisions I, II, III and V) and Saturday (Divisions IV, VI and VII).
This season, however, all of the playoff games will be played on Fridays all the way through the state semifinals.
With the change and questions swirling throughout the communities, I wanted to offer OHSAA Director of Media Relations Tim Stried a platform to provide perspective on the changes.
Stried has been with the OHSAA since 2008.
Here is the Q&A Stried had with Portage Sports.
STRIED: During the off-season, the football coaches asked if it was possible to play all playoff games on Friday night. Schools are used to playing on Friday nights and they want to play on Friday night. Saturday is a college football day, both in terms of fans consuming football and also high school upper classmen making college visits.
STRIED: This was the biggest factor. If we didn’t have enough officials to do this, we wouldn’t put all the games on Friday nights. As long as we have enough, we’ll want to put all the games on Friday nights. If we get to the point where we don’t have enough officials, then we’ll need to go back to having games on Friday and Saturday.
STRIED: You are correct that this reduces the amount of coverage. In my role as media relations director, I am sensitive to that fact, but the request from the coaches outweighed everything, as long we have enough officials.
STRIED: You are also correct that fans can only pick one game per weekend to attend, but the number of fans attending two games per weekend has been shrinking for some time. The attendance numbers of Saturday games has proven that.
STRIED: The benefit is that we were able to say yes to the coaches request. As long as we have enough officials, we can say yes to this request from the coaches. There are negatives but being able to say to the coaches for this request was very important.
Why can’t the lower bracket 8 teams playoff against each other for a chance to advance? Putting these lower schools pretty much only gives them one game!! In fairness they should play within their lower bracket first and then playoff against the top half winner!! Just makes better sense to give these kids some kind of a chance to win!
Another participation trophy. You play where you seed. Stop giving athletes something they did not earn.
Separate divisions for public and private schools will it ever happen? Natural field isn’t very natural in most cases!
This is not fair to the high schools that play on Saturdays . What happens if they get home field advantage ? What will be done then?