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OHSAA Commissioner reflects on hard decisions made, ones that still await

All winter sports tournaments were postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, while the status of spring sports remains hopeful.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — "It's a snow day on steroids when all this happened," said Ohio High School Athletic Association Commissioner Jerry Snodgrass in an interview with WBNS.

Snodgrass made the decision to indefinitely postpone the remainder of winter sports tournaments in Ohio. That included girls basketball state finals, ice hockey state finals, wrestling state finals and boys regional games.

"I learned in conversations with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and medical experts, this is not an overreaction," said Snodgrass. "It all has to do with curtailing the spread of the virus."

The use of the words "postpone indefinitely" were used carefully by the commissioner to leave the door open to potentially crowning state champions. But he also acknowledges with the ever changing landscape of the coronavirus that there is the possibility of canceling the tournaments.

"Everything's on the table," said Snodgrass. "As fast as things transpired in less than 24 hours, there's no way I could lock into either one of those."

"Postponing gives us latitude and that was monumental for our staff and what we do in the planning phase that if we can, we will. Is there a possibility we can't? Yes, because of the so many unknowns of this."

In letters sent to athletic directors, the OHSAA tentatively set a date for spring sports to begin which lines with the return to school date set by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. The hope is to have practices started on April 6 and games by April 11. 

There is also a mandatory no contact period from March 17 through April 5.

"Our season will be condensed if all goes well, but we will go forward with our tournaments in June," said a hopeful Snodgrass.

As a parent and former coach, the commissioner understands the emotions current coaches and players are feeling.

"Watching those girls or the boys come out of the tunnel and the smile on their face for the first time when they step on that state tournament court, it's incredible. We share that emotion."

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