CANTON, Ohio — The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced Wednesday that the Pro Football Hall of Fame will host the state football championships in Canton come this fall.
The games, across Ohio’s seven divisions, will be played at Tom Benson Stadium. The decision is part of a three-year agreement between the hall and OHSAA.
“The OHSAA is excited for this three-year agreement with the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as our student-athletes, schools and communities will get to experience Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium and all that Canton and the Hall of Fame Village have to offer,” said OHSAA Executive Director Doug Ute said. “We are grateful to the Hall of Fame for their partnership, and we look forward to collaborating with the Hall year-round.”
Canton, Massillon and The Ohio State University have hosted the state football championships at various points over the past 30 years. OHSAA representatives said the hall of fame’s tie to the game of football was an ideal place for fans and players.
"The Hall of Fame prides itself in treating OHSAA football teams and their fans the same way we treat the NFL teams and their fans,” said
Pro Football Hall of Fame Chief Administrative Officer Steve Strawbridge.“We give them a first-class experience while they are here. We take the teams through the museum and promote the values of the game. We look forward to providing an exceptional experience for the players, coaches, families and fans attending the games in Canton – the pinnacle of football.”
While other cities like Columbus were serious contenders to host the championship, OSHAA wanted to show there are other venues in the state that can provide the experience for players and fans who reach the level to compete in a state championship.
"We just want a great experience for our kids and our communities. And so we are spread out. We have tennis in Cincinnati. We have baseball-softball in Akron now. We have football in Canton. We have swimming and diving in Canton. But we also have field hockey, lacrosse, cross-country, those sports in Columbus right now," said Ute.
The schedule will be similar to previous years— a Thursday night game, three games on Friday and three games on Saturday.
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