Citing curfew, OHSAA adjusts state schedule
COLUMBUS — Because of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s 10 p.m. statewide curfew order, the Ohio High School Athletic Association has adjusted the game times for the football state championship games this weekend at Fortress Obetz.
The Friday and Saturday games will kick off at 1:15 p.m. and 6:15 p.m., , 45 minutes earlier than previously scheduled.
That means that the Div. VI game between Warren JFK and New Bremen will kick off at 1:15 p.m. Friday and the Div. II game between Massillon and Akron Hoban will kick at 6:15 p.m. Friday. On Saturday, Kirtland and Ironton will play in the Div. V game at 1:15 p.m. while in Div. III Columbus St. Francis DeSales and Chardon will kick at 6:15 p.m.
The Sunday games, including Van Wert vs. Mentor Lake Catholic (Div. IV) and Springfield vs. Coldwater (Div. VI) will kick off at 12:15 and 5:15 (instead of noon and 5 p.m.) so that all six games have a consistent pregame timing format, according to the OHSAA.
While teams and fans can still travel home after 10 p.m., the OHSAA’s goal is that the stadium is closed by 10 p.m.
“We want to support the governor’s curfew order,” OHSAA executive director Doug Ute said. “Kicking off earlier will help ensure that everyone has left the stadium by 10 Friday and Saturday night. We’ll need a sense of urgency to leave the facility after those games, but we don’t want to take away from the postgame experience. We are so excited to host the football state championship games this weekend and complete the fall season, so we want to help with the curfew order to leave the stadium by 10.”
The OHSAA said it is aware that the Franklin County Department of Health has also issued an advisory beginning 6 p.m. Friday, asking residents to stay at home due to the rise of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the city and county. At this time, the OHSAA claims the advisory does not affect the status of the football state championship games.
While each school will receive 750 tickets for their state championship game, that is not the case at Ohio State University.
Ohio State University will allow no fans — including family members of player and coaches — to any athletic contest for the time being. This includes Saturday’s football game with Indiana at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State officials said they will work with the Columbus Department of Health to reevaluate the decision in time for the Dec. 12 home finale against Michigan.
All Ohio State basketball and hockey games will have no fans for the remainder of 2020.
OHSAA clears way for winter
The OHSAA announced results of its membership winter sports survey on Thursday and it appears that the winter sports slate will go forward as planned for now.
The survey gave members the option of moving forward with a winter schedule as planned, suspending winter sports until Jan. 11 and suspending sports until conditions change.
A total of 56 percent of those who responded to survey wanted to move forward as planned with 33 percent wanting to suspend until Jan. 11 and 11 percent wanting a suspension until conditions change.
OHSAA leadership noted that local health departments and local school districts will have the ultimate say on whether a contest will be played, but currently the state health department and the OHSAA will not step in to alter winter sports schedules.