COLUMBUS, Ohio — Instant replay for the Ohio High School Athletic Association state football finals is a reality this season.
The OHSAA football tournament regulations include a playing rule for the ability of having replay at the seven state finals Dec. 5-7 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton.
Instant replay for the state football finals was approved by the OHSAA Board of Directors June 3 and the football tournament regulations were just recently posted to the OHSAA site. The OHSAA has not sent a media release about replay but may do so later this month.
The football tournament regulations are approved on a year-by-year basis.
Instant replay may include official calls involving fumbles, interceptions, scoring plays and other similar instances that wouldn't disrupt the flow of a game, according to OHSAA Senior Director of Officiating and Sport Management Beau Rugg.
Details for the use of instant replay in the finals are explained in the 2019 OHSAA Football Officiating Mechanics Handbook (also known as the Gold Book). That handbook will be distributed to football officials statewide on Monday.
The National Federation of State High School Associations announced in February a rule change that would permit state associations to create instant replay procedures for state playoff football games only.
The change was approved by the NFHS Football Rules Committee and would allow game or replay officials to use a monitor during state playoff games to review decisions by the on-field game officials. In Ohio, replay will only be used in the state football finals.
The OHSAA allows for instant replay at the state basketball championships, but only in last-second situations in regulation or overtime. Instant replay has not been used yet in the state basketball finals, according to OHSAA senior director of communications Tim Stried.
WCPO reported earlier this year the Indiana High School Athletic Association and the Kentucky High Athletic Association are not likely to adopt instant replay for football in any instance in the near future.
At least three state associations — Alabama, New Jersey and Minnesota — had instant replay in football during the 2018 season. Alabama and New Jersey adopted replay for their regular seasons while Minnesota keeps the rule for its state semifinal and final games.
The OHSAA football season begins Aug. 28 when Taft plays host to Northwest in the 22nd annual Skyline Chili Showdown (7 p.m. kickoff) at Stargel Stadium. There are 713 varsity football teams this season, according to the OHSAA.
The OHSAA has not decided upon a state football finals venue beyond 2019.
Wyoming (15-0) is the reigning Division IV state champion. The Cowboys have the longest active regular-season winning streak in Ohio (31 games), according to Drew Pasteur's Ohio Fantastic 50.