Friday, May 24, 2013

Ohio State, Big Ten affecting high school football postseason

In 2006, the Ohio high school football regional finals scheduled for Nov. 18 had to do some quick rescheduling when the Ohio State-Michigan game was pushed to 3:30 p.m. from its normal noon start.

No one dared to get in the way of The Game, which featured Nos. 1 and 2 in the polls. Some prep games were played the night before, a Friday. Others kicked off at noon on Saturday. It wasn't just the fans who wouldn't get to a 7 p.m. prep kickoff on time. The well for volunteers to work the playoff games would have dried up if it meant leaving the TV at halftime of OSU-Michigan to get to the stadiums early.

Don't be surprised if more instances like this pop up in the coming years.

A JJ Huddle report confirmed something I wondered about on Twitter when the OHSAA announced that it wants to move the Division I game to the Friday of state championship weekend: The organization doesn't want its big-school state final going against the Big Ten championship game.

The state finals move to Ohio Stadium in 2014. Could you imagine what an afterthought the biggest game of the year in Ohio high school football would be if the Buckeyes were playing in Indianapolis that night?

It's no exaggeration. With the stakes of the Big Ten title and a berth in the football final four on the line, the prep game would draw an AT&T crowd in Columbus.

Division II will get the job of going against the Big Ten on Saturday night. Adding to the problem, there isn't much the OHSAA can do about it.

If Ohio State is playing that night, maybe the three state finals scheduled for that day could be moved up a half an hour to cut down on the overlap? If one of the games was moved to Sunday, all three would have to be. It costs plenty to run the stadium for one game and one game only, and that's already happening on the Thursday of that weekend.

Moving the state finals up one week isn't an option because that's during Ohio State's regular season. The stadium wouldn't be available every other year, and the years it would be, it's Ohio State-Michigan week.

Moving them back a week isn't a good idea, either. The football playoffs already push into wrestling and boys basketball seasons by a week (two for hockey).

The OHSAA already has a problem with decreased attendance at the state finals. Adding a seventh game will help. But the ever-expanding night-time college football schedule isn't going away.

It's not Ohio State's fault, either. It doesn't have an obligation to the OHSAA other than some courtesy because it's good public relations with the schools it recruits from.

So the OHSAA has to work around it as best it can, and hope some Division II fans don't mind listening to the Big Ten game on the radio in the stands before heading somewhere to watch the end. Good news is, if Ohio State is playing, there won't be much traffic.

-- Howard Primer


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home