When Governor Mike DeWine recently extended the mandatory closing of schools due to the coronavirus pandemic, it had an effect upon the 2020 high school spring sports season.
According to a memo Ohio High School Athletic Association Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass released on Tuesday, the school closure extension directly resulted in the mandated no-contact period for coaches meeting with student-athletes also being extended to May 1. Snodgrass added that electronic communication between coaches and athletes is allowed.
While there will be no practices and competitions allowed throughout the month of April, Snodgrass did express optimism that the OHSAA still could have abbreviated schedules for spring sports. However, he cautioned that there are many factors to be considered.
“While cancellation remains on the table with all other options, there are many factors that enter into possibilities,” he said in the memo. “Availability of venues for any events, Department of Health guidelines and Governor’s orders are all part of the equation. Under no circumstances will we compromise the safety of student-athletes, coaches, officials, game workers or fans. Everyone in the schools is aware of the extremely fluid situation and we will continue to update you as things change.”
While no concrete decision has been made for future sporting events, Snodgrass said that the unpredictable nature of the situation has caused the OHSAA to look farther down the road in order to be prepared in the event the current situation doesn’t improve by summer.
For off-season regulations, he said, “In the event activities are permitted to begin in June or July, we are looking at adjusting off-season regulations to expedite a return to school-based athletic programs.”
He added that, in a worst-case scenario, fall sports could also be effected, although he emphasized, “I want to stress that we are planning for worst-case scenarios by identifying all the challenges we could potentially face.”
In this event, the worst-case scenario mentioned by Snodgrass revolves around events, practices and/or training being shut down during or through the summer, leading to many student-athletes not having any high-level physical training and potentially needing an acclimatization period.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS