The Ohio High School Athletic Association continued to state preparations for the potential fall sports season with a memo distributed by Interim Executive DIrector Bob Goldring last week.
The memo directly stated that, “First, for clarity, the OHSAA Officed is proceeding as if fall sports will occur, meaning practices will begin on Aug. 1 and we will conduct our usual series of tournaments in 10 fall sports. As you have all seen during this pandemic, those plans can be modified or changed quickly. In working with the Governor’s Office, we are currently in the process of preparing a guidance document on the restart of interscholastic athletics.”
The memo added that when that memo is approved, it will be sent to member schools’ superintendents, principals and athletic administrators. Also, the OHSAA is planning to share a student-athlete acknowledgement/pledge document they hope schools will consider using.
The memo added that last week, the Ohio Department of Health issued a director’s order providing guidance for contact sport competitions through July 15 — coinciding with the schedule for the Columbus-hosted, ESPN-broadcast The Basketball Tournament. During this period, which ends this Wednesday, competitive games and tournaments are permitted for contact sports. Also, practices and open gyms with another team or club, as well as inter-club/team play are permitted as long as all teams involved agree to comply with the requirements set forth in that order.
It was also stated that Lt. Governor Jon Husted emphasized this order is “extended for a short, trial basis and that the responsibility is with all of us to continue exercising safe practices to slow the spread of COVID-19”.
Husted also commented last Thursday during Governor Mike DeWine’s news conference about the situation, stating that he anticipates there being more information to come during the course of this week.
In the memo, a number of other things pertaining to high school sports were touched upon.
• The Governor’s office announced that they viewed volleyball as a non-contact sport, joining baseball, golf, softball, swimming and diving, tennis and track and field). Competition is now allowed in volleyball, including scrimmages, contests and competitions with other teams. While OHSAA volleyball commissioner has been in touch to request specific guidance for that sport, currently, the Responsible RestartOhio guidelines found on the Ohio Coronavirus webpage for General Non-Contact Sports and Contact Sports Practices and Non-Contact Sport Competitions can be applied.
• Currently, no new information regarding cross country has been provided by the Governor’s Office as to which category that sport is in. The OHSAA stated that as they continue their communications with the Governor’s Office, they will share any updates with schools.
• In response to the NCAA making changes in its recruiting periods, the OHSAA is working on a proposal that would allow student-athletes a one-time waiver for this fall to attend an “Identification Camp” after participating in a scholastic scrimmage, preview or game. This waiver only applies to individual workouts or camps and not team showcases. All events must take place before the start of 2020 fall tournament play and upon returning from the ID Camp, athletes must follow school policy to return to team play. More information will be provided once the waiver is finalized.
• The OHSAA also reminds people that they have no jurisdiction over team play during the summer, stating that the decisions to participate in team camps or compete against other teams are made by local school districts, so all questions concerning those activities need to be directed to school administrators or local health departments.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS