New protocols to know ahead of the 2020 high school football season


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The 2020 high school football season will be unlike any other in Ohio’s history.

Last week, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine gave the green light for all fall sports while laying out many new protocols and procedures, especially for football, to keep communities safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

Those new rules are included in this article as a guide for what football fans and teams should expect throughout the season.

Regular Season Structure

  • 6 regular season games with expanded playoffs
  • Teams can begin their season in September or early October and compete in the playoffs
  • 6 games do not have to be played in a row
  • Teams can quarantine for 2 weeks if there is a COVID-19 outbreak and resume play as long as there COVID-19 is no longer prevalent with the team, school or community

Playoff Structure

  • Every team makes the playoffs if they choose to be a part of the postseason
  • Playoffs begin October 9
  • Number of playoffs rounds depends on the number of schools entering the playoffs in each division
  • Coaches in each region will seed playoffs teams in the region to form a bracket
  • Teams that do not want to play in the playoffs can still play a total of 10 games
  • Teams eliminated from the playoffs can keep playing until they have played a total of 10 games

Attendance Rules

  • Outdoor sporting events limited to 1,500 fans or 15% of fixed permanent seating capacity
  • Spectators must wear a mask at games
  • Only family members and guardians of players, coaches, cheerleaders, band members, and team staff members can attend the game
  • Family and household members should sit together 6 feet socially distanced from other individuals, families and household groups

On-field and in-game protocols

  • Assigned standing spot for players on the sideline
  • Assigned spots must be 6 feet apart
  • Players not in the game, along with all coaches, must wear a mask
  • Officials will use a marker and sit it at the spot of the next line of scrimmage. The center from each team will take the ball and place it down.
  • Sideline team boxes extended to 80 yards to allow for social distancing
  • No pregame or post game handshakes
  • Maximum of 60 players can suit up for a game
  • Shortened halftime of 10 minutes
  • Visiting teams cannot use the locker room for road games

Safety Requirements

  • Players, coaches, trainers and officials must conduct daily symptom assessments before each practice or game
  • Anyone experiencing symptoms must stay home
  • No congregating before or after practices
  • Spectators must conduct daily symptom assessments
  • Masks must be worn on buses during travel to a competition

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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