The Ohio High School Athletic Association’s fall sports of girls tennis, girls and boys golf, field hockey, girls and boys soccer, girls and boys cross country, volleyball and football are scheduled to officially begin practice Saturday.
Earlier Friday, the OHSAA Board of Directors reaffirmed their position that the OHSAA fall sports seasons will go forward as planned. While all fall sports can practice, contests between schools in the sports of golf, tennis and volleyball have been approved by Gov. Mike DeWine. The OHSAA continues to work with the Governor’s Office toward approval of contests in cross country, field hockey, soccer and football.
"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."
Friday’s full memo sent to member schools at 2 p.m. is posted at https://ohsaaweb.blob.core.windows.net/files/BulletinBoard/20200731AdministratorUpdate.pdf.
Some schools across Ohio will not be able to begin practice Saturday. That situation and others are addressed in this OHSAA question-and-answer document: https://ohsaaweb.blob.core.windows.net/files/BulletinBoard/20200731QandA.pdf.
Earlier this week, the OHSAA suspended scrimmages in the four fall contact sports that have not yet been approved by the Governor for school vs. school competition (field hockey, cross country, soccer and football). That memo is posted at https://ohsaaweb.blob.core.windows.net/files/BulletinBoard/20200728Update.pdf. The OHSAA’s COVID-19 correspondence center is posted at https://www.ohsaa.org/Home/OHSAA-COVID-19-Correspondence
"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."
Golf teams are permitted one scrimmage any time during the season. The season is scheduled to begin Wednesday..
Girls tennis teams are permitted one scrimmage after practice begins and prior to its first match. The first match is set for Aug. 7.
Volleyball teams are permitted five scrimmages and one preview after practice begins. The first match is scheduled for Aug. 21.
No scrimmages are permitted for football teams. School vs. school contests will follow per their normal OHSAA permissible dates and regulations with a target date of the week of Aug. 24. The date is subject to change and subject to the approval from the Governor’s Office/Ohio Department of Heath and with the stipulation that COVID-19 testing will not be required.
Scrimmages for other contact sports such as soccer, field hockey and cross country will not be permitted. School vs. school contests will follow per their normal OHSAA permissible dates and regulations with a target date of Aug. 21 for soccer and field hockey and Aug. 24 for cross country.
These dates are subject to change and subject to the approval from the Governor’s Office/Ohio Department of Heath and with the stipulation that COVID-19 testing will not be required.
If contact sports are not approved for school vs. school competition by Sept. 4, 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. Fall non-contact sports would move forward as scheduled.
If the fall seasons begin and are stopped but then resume, the OHSAA has plans to move to a modified fall sports season. If contact sports are approved for school vs. school competition, the OHSAA is prepared to set COVID-19-related requirements for schools to follow for competitions as requested by the Governor’s Office. The OHSAA will govern and issue consequences for the violation of these requirements as prescribed in OHSAA Bylaw 11, Penalties.
Conversations with the Governor’s Office/Ohio Department of Health continue regarding the status of field hockey and/or cross country being placed into the low/non-contact category. The membership will be updated if that changes for either or both sports.