(8-28-20) Tonight in Ohio many high school football teams (those who are still participating) across the state will start an adventure during the year of the pandemic.

Thanks to Governor DeWine’s recent orders for fall contact sports, this season Ohio football teams will play before mostly empty stadiums with fans sitting in a socially distance position from other fans. Bands and cheerleaders will be limited to mostly home games, team benches will be socially distanced, shorter half-times,… it won’t look the same.

For those who can’t attend games tonight some will be watching the streaming of games live, allowed this season by the OHSAA due to COVID 19, others will have to rely on radio coverage. Tickets are very limited for inside the stadium, with strict social distance protocols in place…but what about outside? Don’t be surprised if some very determined fans find a way to catch a glimpse of their teams in action.

The state will send inspectors to various pre-selected sites to oversee games to make sure no one breaks the rules? (Who is paying for that….take a look in the mirror.)

Athletic programs will be taking a very big financial hit. Football at most schools brings in a large amount of the income used to fund all the athletic team budgets. With current scheduling in place, schools will only have three home games guaranteed, with very little income coming from those games. Schools are incurring additional costs for social distancing

Booster clubs that depend on fund raising during the football season, especially 50-50 drawings, will see most of that all disappear.

Some schools have designated tonight’s games as ‘Senior Night’ in hoping to stay one-step ahead of any changes the Governor decides to make during the next several weeks.

Pandemic Football Scheduling

Each school will play the first six games in a shortened regular season, playoffs will start in week 7. The OHSAA hope to have realigned regions and possibly divisions in place, schools will have to commit to participating to be eligible. Schools who lose in round one of the playoffs can play three additional weeks…this should be interesting for sure to see how the scheduling works and who wants to continue after losing a playoff game.

No computer points to worry about this year since everyone qualifies, some conferences will not be crowning a champion, although the NWC and NWCC were thinking out-of-the-box and turned it into a mini-tournament format.

Week 1 in the Stateline area will feature all-conference match-ups, some with rivalry match-ups –

MAC

  • Coldwater St. Henry
  • Marion Local Ft. Recovery
  • Minster New Bremen
  • Anna Versailles
  • Parkway Delphos St. John’s

WBL

  • Bath St. Marys
  • Wapakoneta Celina
  • Defiance O-G
  • Van Wert Elida
  • Kenton Shawnee

NWC

  • Ada Allen East
  • Columbus Grove Bluffton
  • Paulding Delphos Jefferson
  • Crestview Spencerville

How will this season be remembered? Will this become the new normal? Time will tell….