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Ohio High School Athletic Association pleased with postseason football online voting process

Posted at 2:26 PM, Oct 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-02 14:26:22-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio High School Athletic Association football administrator Beau Rugg said Friday morning he was pleased with the postseason online voting process for 664 high school teams around the state this week.

Rugg said every coach in the postseason submitted bios from their teams that included win-loss records the past two seasons, including by divisions and returning starters for this fall.

"This is incredible, that they've stepped up and done this," said Rugg, who is also the senior director of officiating and sport management. "We went really simple on the voting the first time since we've never done it."

The OHSAA announced Thursday afternoon the postseason brackets for all eligible teams who opted in for the playoffs. This is the first time since the postseason started in 1972 that every Ohio football team was eligible for the playoffs at the start of the season under OHSAA guidelines.

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Rugg said he didn't receive any significant complaints about the results Friday morning but would probably add some other parameters — maybe dropping the top- and bottom-voted teams from each member, similar to basketball — if online voting occurred again in the future.

He said he did see some bloc voting similar to basketball where some leagues clearly voted to help their own members.

"You can't mitigate everything because you can't legislate in total ethics," Rugg said. "It is what is. This is more subjective."

OHSAA football administrator Beau Rugg said he was pleased with the postseason online voting system.

St. Xavier coach Steve Specht said he couldn't speak for other coaches in Division I, Region 4 but understands there are different approaches. The Bombers (3-2) received a No. 3 seed and play host to No. 14 Walnut Hills (1-1) Oct. 9.

"I really don't care how anybody votes because the reality is you're going to have to play great competition regardless," Specht said. "At some point in time you're going to have to play the team that's considered the best, whomever that is. For guys to vote one way or another really doesn't matter because you're going to have to win to advance anyway."

Hamilton coach Nate Mahon said his ballot was similar to the Joe Eitel unofficial rankings.The Big Blue (3-2) will host the program's first home playoff game Oct. 9 when Hamilton plays Moeller (1-4).

"I voted it as reasonable as possible all the while trying to take care of the people we played," Mahon said.

Fairfield coach Jason Krause considered the Greater Miami Conference season when he voted this past week. Fairfield (1-4) plays at Elder (3-2) in a first-round matchup Oct. 9.

"I just believe that our league is as strong top to bottom as it's been since I've been coaching in it the last 13 years," Krause said.

Lakota West (5-0) was a unanimous No. 1 seed in Region 4.

But Firebirds coach Tom Bolden said this week his focus has been on hosting Mason (4-1) tonight for a chance at an outright GMC title.

"It's flattering that people think of you as No. 1," Bolden said. "The kids have worked hard. It helps you with the seeding. But, you are going to get everybody's best shot. If the ball doesn't bounce your way or you don't take care of the football, it doesn't matter what seed you are."

Rugg said he didn't suggest or discourage Eitel's unofficial rankings because he figured most everyone in the football community looks at that data anyway.

He said he's still in favor of the computer points system but would like to see more of a strength-of-schedule component in the immediate future.

He said the plan is to still move forward with the approved 2021 format, where 12 teams in each region make the postseason based upon computer points. Rugg acknowledged some coaches have given other input for the postseason and he will continue to assess everything.

"I'd much rather use the computer points because it's much more objective - bottom line," Rugg said. "And it makes sense."