When the OHSAA announced two months ago that the football playoffs would be expanded by one week and 50% more teams beginning in 2021, the statement declared that the early December ending date would likely be maintained. That has now become reality. With a sixth weekend of playoff games being added, the season becomes a 16 week proposition and will result in more activity before Labor Day.
The 2021 slate originally called for most teams to open on Friday August 27. Now it will be Friday August 20. Though this won’t always be the case, 2021 will begin with three games before Labor Day. It all depends on how Labor Day falls in relation to Thanksgiving in a given year.
It’s now been a few weeks since the OHSAA Board of Directors fired Executive Director (Commissioner) Jerry Snodgrass whom I’ve known for almost 20 years and consider a very good friend, dating back to his days at Findlay High School. The news shocked me.
When it comes to any personnel situation, I’m careful not to make general statements beyond my personal knowledge and experience. I will not say that he was a great Executive Director because I didn’t have an insider’s view. However, I’ve had a “ringside seat” as the senior member of the OHSAA Media Advisory Committee, resulting in much interaction with Snodgrass during his dozen years with the organization including two as the head man.
I will testify that he was great with the media and also with the school administrators I know who have advocated to me on his behalf. He attended and participated in game nights at numerous schools statewide including Sidney and Botkins. On the negative side, it’s my understanding that the Upper Sandusky native had a number of fractured relationships within the OHSAA staff and that three longtime key staffers had already departed before the firing.
Whoever becomes the next Executive Director will face a daunting task both financially and operationally. Attendance at state football and basketball has seen a gradual decline even before the total cancellation of the 2020 basketball tourneys due to coronavirus. A confluence of factors has contributed to this including a TV contract that yields little revenue while likely keeping some fans at home.
The Snodgrass successor must also deal with a state legislature that is willing to impose its will on OHSAA regulations that should be decided by association members. In 2019 an amendment that changed how the OHSAA handled eligibility for exchange students was attached to a budget bill that was passed and then signed by the governor. I see that as downright shameful.
Sports Extra appears each Friday. Dave Ross has spent the past 45 years in local sports media and has also worked for two universities. He has served on several OHSAA committees.