By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced on Monday that the high school football state championships will remain in Canton through 2026.
The OHSAA signed a new three-year contract with the Pro Football Hall of Fame to keep the finals to be played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
The partnership between the two entities was set to expire following this weekend’s state championships.
“We are excited to continue to grow this partnership with the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” OHSAA Executive Director Doug Ute said. “They have been so good to work with and are just as excited as us to take the next steps with the finals in Canton and have people experience all that the Hall of Fame, the surrounding Hall of Fame Village, and Canton have to offer in addition to state championship football. We also thank Visit Canton for their support of the state championships and appreciate their support to host the games in Stark County.”
Ohio Stadium hosted the state championships throughout the 1980’s, then the finals were moved to Massillon and Canton from 1990 through 2013.
The finals moved back to Ohio State from 2014-16, during a timeframe when Fawcett Stadium was being razed to build Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, where the finals have been hosted since 2017 (except for the canceled 2020 COVID season when the finals were hosted in Obetz and Massillon).
“The Pro Football Hall of Fame is proud to partner with Visit Canton and the OHSAA to keep the seven state championship games in Canton for the next three years,” said Jim Porter, Hall of Fame president. “The Hall wants this relationship to continue long into the future. Our staff will look for additional ways to build the weekend into a full community celebration – making the experience even more special for the teams playing in Canton and creating memories that will last a lifetime.”