State playoffs return to Canton

The Ohio High School Athletic Association football state championship games is scheduled to be played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton in 2017 and 2018 following approval from the Ohio High School Athletic Association board of directors at its meeting Jan. 19.

The OHSAA staff had previously confirmed its intent to return to Canton in 2017 and 2018 and the 9-0 vote by the board of directors makes the move official.

After a 24-year stay in Stark County from 1990-2013, the football state championship games took place at Ohio Stadium in Columbus in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

The 2017 OHSAA football state championships weekend is Thursday, Nov. 30, through Sunday, Dec. 3. The exact dates and times of the games will be finalized this spring. All seven state championship games will be played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton.

The stadium complex, which is next to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, will include Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village, featuring hotels, shopping, a conference center and parking decks.

No details for the football state championship games after 2018 have been finalized, but the OHSAA intends to return to Ohio Stadium in Columbus for the 2019 state championship games.

Mandated pitch count approved

Details for a nationally-mandated pitch count restriction in high school baseball were approved Thursday by the Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Directors at its January meeting. Last year, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) informed all states that they were required to have a pitch count limit instead of a regulation based on innings pitched over a certain number of days. Previously in Ohio high school baseball, a pitcher could pitch up to 10 innings in a three-day span. Each state was tasked with determining its own regulation.

The new OHSAA pitch count regulation calls for a maximum of 125 pitches permitted in a day, and contains several other details such as the number of days required between pitching appearances based on the number of pitches thrown. The regulation approved Thursday replaces OHSAA baseball regulation 1.7, which was approved last year and indicated that details for the pitch count regulation would be finalized in January.

"Our initial goal was to meet the requirement of the NFHS rule that now requires individual states to create their own pitch count limitations," said Assistant Commissioner Jerry Snodgrass, who is the baseball administrator for the OHSAA. "After assembling a group representing the necessary stakeholders, including a member of our Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, we have met that goal. We continue to look at further ways in which these limitations will affect teams as well as providing adequate education for our coaches and those in non-school baseball."