Last Tuesday, Ohio’s Governor’s Office gave the approval for contact sports to hold competitions this fall. For Morrow County, this includes the area’s football programs, as well as Highland’s soccer teams.
In addition to that approval, a number of requirements were made for schools to follow in hosting athletic events. For specific sports, those requirements, recommendations and modifications may be found on the OHSAA website.
Included amongst them for football are expanding the team box on the sidelines to the 10-yard lines to provide more room for social distancing. Recommendations include shortening halftimes to 10 minutes and suspending the post-game handshake lines.
The OHSAA also placed limits on both spectator capacity at events, as well as how many players may dress for contests.
Outdoor venues will be limited to either 1500 people or 15 percent of seated capacity, whichever is lesser. For indoor events, it will be the lesser of 300 people or 15 percent of seated capacity.
As far as how many players may dress for contests, 60 will be allowed for football, 22 in soccer and 15 in volleyball. If a school has more than that number on its roster, they are permitted to have those extra athletes wear jerseys and either stand on the sidelines or sit in the grandstands, but they must wear facial coverings and be socially distanced. It also is recommended that home teams not have those additional players enter locker rooms and that visiting teams not exceed the maximum number allowed to dress.
Also, for sports which have marching or pep bands, it was determined to limit those bands to only perform at home contests and not travel to road events.
In addition, for areas of the state where schools have decided to not hold fall competitions, the OHSAA is allowing those schools to hold those sports in the spring. However, it is noted that there are no intentions of holding fall tournaments in the spring — it’s just a means to allow schools not competing in the fall to hold those competitions at another time.