The Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Directors today voted to award both Stark County and Columbus the opportunity to host the state football finals for two years each beginning with the 2012 season. The vote took place during a special Board conference call meeting and was in response to a recommendation from an 11-person state football finals subcommittee.
Stark County, which has hosted all or portions of the finals for the past 20 years and has two years remaining on the current contract to host the finals, has been awarded the 2012 and 2013 championships, while Columbus will host the finals in 2014 and 2015. As part of the motion to approve the recommendation, the Board also gave itself the opportunity to discuss option years for hosting the finals in the future. Stark County will continue to utilize Canton Fawcett Stadium and Massillon Paul Brown Tiger Stadium as the site for the six championship games in a two-day format rotating between the two facilities and Columbus will host all six finals at Ohio Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University also in a two-day format.
The OHSAA originally received proposals to host the state finals from groups in Stark County, Columbus, Cincinnati, Akron/Akron and Kent State, Bowling Green and Toledo, and on April 26 the finals subcommittee heard in-person presentations from all but the latter two groups. After the potential host sites were trimmed to Stark County and Columbus, members of the subcommittee visited the facilities in Canton and Massillon in Stark County on June 2 and Columbus on June 8. Meetings were held with each group the week of June 28 to finalize their proposals. The subcommittee, which conducted a conference call meeting July 14 to first attempt to finalize a recommendation for the OHSAA Board, reconvened via a conference call today before agreeing upon a final recommendation. The subcommittee was comprised of three OHSAA Board of Directors members, five OHSAA administrative staff members and three officers from the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association.
“We sincerely thank the six groups that were interested in hosting the state finals,” said OHSAA Commissioner Daniel B. Ross, Ph.D., a member of the subcommittee. “When we narrowed down our choices to the final two groups, the subcommittee felt that there was no question that both would do an outstanding job in hosting the championships and that both had a lot to offer. We feel like using both locations will give us the best of both worlds and that the real winners will be our participating schools and their fans."
The games during the foreseeable future will be held the weekend after Thanksgiving weekend, which in most cases is the first weekend in December.
The future state football finals schedule is as follows:
• Dec. 3-4 at Canton Fawcett Stadium and Massillon Paul Brown Tiger Stadium
• Dec. 2-3, 2011 at Canton Fawcett Stadium and Massillon Paul Brown Tiger Stadium
• Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2012 at Canton Fawcett Stadium and Massillon Paul Brown Tiger Stadium
• Dec. 6-7, 2013 at Canton Fawcett Stadium and Massillon Paul Brown Tiger Stadium
• Dec. 5-6, 2014 at Ohio Stadium, Columbus
• Dec. 4-5, 2015 at Ohio Stadium, Columbus