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HS Sports
December 9, 2019

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OHSAA fall sports practices get underway Thursday

New inclement weather policy now in effect

Preseason practices officially begin this Thursday, Aug. 1, for OHSAA member schools for the fall sports of football, girls and boys golf, girls tennis, girls volleyball, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls cross country and girls field hockey.  


A modification to the OHSAA’s inclement weather policy is now in effect, which states, “At night under certain atmospheric conditions, lighting flashes may be seen from distant storms. In these cases, it may be safe to continue an event if no thunder can be heard and the flashes are low on the horizon.” Otherwise, if thunder is heard or lightning is seen, outdoor activities shall be suspended for 30 minutes and all personnel, athletes and spectators shall evacuate to available safe structures or shelters. The full policy is posted here.


In football, 713 schools will field varsity teams this season. Divisional breakdowns, tournament regulations and statewide composite schedules from MaxPreps are posted on the OHSAA football page.

A national rule change this season is that a 40-second or 25-second play clock will be used to determine delay of game, depending on the result of the previous play or the officials’ signal. Previously, the ball was marked ready-for-play when, after it had been placed for a down, the referee gave the ready-for-play signal and the 25-second count began. The new play clock regulation is posted here.

The first Friday night of the regular-season is August 30. Looking ahead to the playoffs in November, Division I, II, III and VI teams will play on Friday nights, while Division IV, V and VII teams will play on Saturday nights. All playoff games during the first four rounds will kick off at 7 p.m. The state championship games return to Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton December 5-7.

New divisions and regions were announced in June and are posted here.

A reminder that kickoffs are no longer permitted in freshmen games, and they are only permitted in junior varsity games if both head coaches mutually agree. Kickoffs are already not permitted in junior high games. In games with no kickoffs, the ball will be spotted at the 35-yard line to start halves and after scores. The ball will be spotted at the 50-yard line after a safety.

Additional Reminders for All Schools, Coaches and Student-Athletes:

  • All student-athletes must have a pre-participation physical: click here for the form.
  • All coaches, paid and volunteer, must be certified by the Ohio Department of Education: click here for more info.
  • Mandatory preseason parent meetings information
  • The month of August is a no-contact period for coaches in the sports of basketball, softball, baseball, ice hockey and lacrosse.