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OHSFCA not consulted before new plan released

The Ohio High School Athletic Association did not directly consult the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association before formulating a plan released Friday for going forward with a 2020 high school football season.

Lakeview coach Tom Pavlansky, president of the OHSFCA, said he was told in April by OHSAA officials that the coaches’ group would be consulted when a decision on the season was made.

“I have no doubt that if we were consulted the questions and issues that are causing great concern statewide among coaches and athletic directors could have been lessened if the OHSAA had kept their word to have a seat at the table for the OHSFCA,” Pavlansky said.

“The OHSFCA is comprised of members with hundreds of years of experience in the game of football and the OHSAA Board of Control failed to utilize this valuable resource.”

The OHSAA plan calls for a number of drastic changes, including all teams being eligible for the playoffs, but not required to participate; starting the playoffs on Oct. 9 (previously Week 7) and having them completed by Nov. 21; allowing schools to schedule regular season games after being eliminated from the playoffs, with a time limit of Nov. 14 and a regular-season game limit of 10; the fact that all current regular-season game contracts are voidable by either school; and a redrawing of regions based on the number of schools in each division that commit to the playoffs, with a coaches’ vote to seed the teams in each region.

“Most coaches are excited to have the opportunity to play this fall considering the challenges of the day,” Pavlansky said. “It is a well-intentioned plan and I have empathy for the OHSAA in these challenging times, but I wish they had used all the resources at their disposal.

“There is a lot of frustration among athletic directors and coaches regarding scheduling.”

Pavlansky said he expects some clarification to come this week from the OHSAA regarding some of the questions raised about the plan.

Conferences throughout the state also are expected to meet to consider schedule adjustments.

It is still possible that Gov. Mike DeWine’s office will not permit high school football games to be played, depending on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pavlansky and a panel of coaches put together a proposal detailing game-night protocols and best practices to enable high school football to be played, while keeping players and coaches safe and reducing the spread of COVID-19.

That proposal was presented in late July by the OHSFCA to the OHSAA, DeWine’s office and the Ohio Department of Health. Pavlansky met with Lt. Gov. Jon Husted early last week to discuss the coaches’ proposal.

He said Husted was appreciative of the work of the OHSFCA and was positive about the 30-plus page proposal.

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