COLUMBUS, Ohio — In an email sent to its member schools, Ohio High School Athletics Association interim executive director Bob Goldring reaffirmed the organization's plans to move forward with its fall sports seasons as planned.
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That means that practices for low/non-contact sports and contact sports, including football, will be permitted to begin official practices on Saturday, August 1.
“It is important to keep athletic activity moving forward,” said Dan Leffingwell, president of the OHSAA Board of Directors and superintendent of the Noble Local Schools in Sarahsville. “And with that, we believe our member schools provide our student-athletes with the safest possible environment to return to play and that our school programs are the best avenue to help students learn lifelong lessons and provide social, emotional and physical benefits that other programs cannot. Moving forward allows those students to continue to be engaged with their school coaches and teammates. Membership data also supports this decision."
Leffingwell noted that the OHSAA could also adjust its plan based on future guidance from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.
“If we were to delay, our students will find opportunities to compete in sports through non-school programs that may not be focused on safety and are not education-based,” Leffingwell said. “Should data on COVID-19 change and/or the Governor’s Office makes changes to our plan, we have flexibility that would allow us to look at implementing other models for our seasons.”
As announced earlier this week, school vs. school scrimmages in contact sports are currently prohibited. Should competition between schools for contact sports not be allowed by Sept. 4, the OHSAA says that fall contact sports and remaining winter and spring sports will move to a condensed schedule that will take place between mid-December and the end of June and that fall non-contact sports would move forward as scheduled.
In its email, the OHSAA also shared the following:
- If for some reason, the fall sports season is interrupted, the OHSAA has plans to move to a modified fall sports season.
- Should contact sports be approved for school vs. school competition, the OHSAA will set COVID-19-related requirements for schools to follow for competitions. The OHSAA will also govern and issue consequences for any potential violations of the requirements as prescribed in OHSAA Bylaw 11 penalties.
- The OHSAA will continue to hold conversations with the Governor’s Office/Ohio Department of Health regarding the status of field hockey and/or cross country being placed into the low/non-contact category. The membership could eventually be updated if that changes.