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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio High School Athletic Association has announced the regional brackets for the football playoffs Thursday, which currently include 648 schools that will take part in the 2020 postseason.

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, which will not be used this season. However, this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the playoffs will begin in Week 7 (Oct. 9-10) and all teams could opt in.

TICKETING PROCESS

The OHSAA will send playoff ticketing guidelines and information to schools on Friday and will meet virtually with all playoff schools on Monday morning to discuss. According the latest order from the Ohio Department of Health and the Governor, only 15 percent of the stadium’s permanent seating capacity are permitted to attend games, unless the site has been approved for a variance by the Ohio Department of Health. Note that the home team can have its band in attendance for its games, while both teams can have cheerleaders.

All playoff tickets will be sold online through www.OHSAA.org/tickets and will be available starting Tuesday, October 6.

PLAYOFF SCHEDULE AND FORMAT

Earlier this week, the head coaches in each region voted to determine the seeding in their region. On Thursday, the OHSAA placed teams on brackets according to the seeds. Many of the higher seeds will have a first-round bye in most regions.

Divisions, I, II, III and VII will play on Friday nights. Divisions IV, V and VI will play on Saturday nights. All games kick off at 7 p.m.

For each game through at least the regional semifinals, the higher seeded team will have the first opportunity to host the game. If the higher seeded team cannot host, the other team will host the game. The OHSAA will determine sites for the regional finals, 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.

Schools eliminated from the OHSAA playoffs or that chose not to enter the playoffs have the option to schedule additional regular season contests through Saturday, November 14 (maximum of 10 regular season contests permitted).

STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES

The Division I state championship game will be played Friday, November 13. The specific dates and times for the state championship games in Divisions II through VII will be announced at a later date, but will be played within the November 19-22 date range. Sites will be announced at a later date, as well, but it is unlikely that all seven games will be played at the same venue. There will be no state championship games that happen simultaneously, as each game will have its own time slot.

MEDIA COVERAGE AND BROADCASTS

The OHSAA encourages media coverage of all games and working media members are not counted toward the capacity limits for spectators. For press box access during playoff games, host sites should follow the OHSAA priority seating instructions posted at: https://www.ohsaa.org/Portals/0/Sports/Football/FBMediaPressBoxMemo.pdf

Broadcast fees will apply except for webcasts by school-owned websites. The OHSAA will send a media advisory on Monday with details and the fees chart.

Approval and placement of media members will be determined by the host school Athletic Director depending on the layout of the facility, including how many people are permitted in the press box. In small press boxes, due to social distancing regulations, there may not be space available for media. At field level, media members must be outside the team box, which has been expanded this season to span from the 10-yard line to the opposite 10-yard line. Media must also stay at least two yards back from the in-play field boundary. Media must wear a facial covering at all times. As always, media should contact the host school’s Athletic Director well in advance of game day to request permission to attend and, if approved, discuss their placement and access during the game. Media are not permitted in the locker room.

Spectrum News 1 is the official television partner of the OHSAA and will select several playoff games each weekend to televise live. Only Spectrum can provide live television coverage of OHSAA football playoff games. All other television broadcasts can start at 10:00 p.m. the same day as the game. Live video streaming will be permitted for games not selected by Spectrum News 1 at rates set by the OHSAA, which will be announced Monday, October 5.

SCHOOLS TO SUBMIT INFORMATION TO ROYAL PUBLISHING

All playoff schools are to submit a roster and team picture to Royal Publishing per instructions sent by the OHSAA next week. Additional items are to be sent to the OHSAA.

OHSAA COVID-19 GUIDANCE CENTER

All sports in Ohio – at all levels – are under the direction of the latest Ohio Department of Health order signed August 19 by Governor DeWine. The order and additional guidance from the ODH and OHSAA are posted at: https://www.ohsaa.org/Home/OHSAA-COVID-19-Correspondence

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