The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Apr. 2, 2020

Monday Mailbag: COVID-19 vs. OHSAA

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

This week’s Monday Mailbag is all about the postponement of Ohio High School Athletic Association’s winter sports tournaments, spring sports and the NCAA tournament.

Q: It doesn’t seem likely that the Ohio High School Athletic Association is going to resume winter sports tournaments. What are your thoughts? Name withheld upon request

A: I don’t see it happening, but that’s just my personal opinion.

Let’s just say that things are back on track in three weeks, which doesn’t appear likely, given Governor Mike DeWine’s comments on Sunday that he could no more classes this school year – then what?

Even if classes do resume, student-athletes in winter sports would need practice time to prepare, something they can’t do now. Where would the games be held? What about kids involved in winter sports that also play spring sports? How would the games/events be scheduled out?

I could be wrong and I hope I am, but I just don’t see the tournaments resuming.

Q: It almost seems cruel for OHSAA to say winter sports tournaments are suspended or postponed, giving kids and fans hope they’ll be played. Why not just cancel them instead of saying they’re postponed? Name withheld upon request

A: I do think Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass and the OHSAA truly want the winter sports tournaments to resume in some form or fashion and I understand why he doesn’t want to completely close the door.

Like I said before, I’m not convinced that’s going to happen, especially given the number of unknowns about COVID-19 and as mentioned before, the Governor’s comments on Sunday.

It’s really a shame for any team that advanced as far as they did in their respective sport – Parkway basketball, Van Wert wrestler Gabe Steyer, etc.

Q: Is it possible that spring sports won’t be played? I know there are dates out there when practices can resume and games can start, but what are the chances it doesn’t happen? Name withheld upon request

A: As much as I don’t like to say it in general, anything is possible at this point, simply because this is something that hasn’t happened before.

The dates out there – April 6-10 for practices and April 11 as the first day of games/meets – were set in the hopes that COVID-19 has run its course. However, that was before the CDC recommended no groups of 50 or more for eight more weeks.

I want to be optimistic, but it’s a challenge given the circumstances that seemingly change daily.

Q: This isn’t a question, but I just want to say the timing was lousy to cancel the girls basketball state tournament. To wait until a few minutes before game time to cancel was just plain wrong. Name withheld upon request

A: This whole thing is lousy, and not just from a sports standpoint.

Even late Thursday morning, I honestly thought regional boys basketball, the girls state tournament and state wrestling would go on as scheduled, and I personally thought they’d assess the situation for the boys state tournament on Monday (today).

Like many others, I was wrong.

All of us are in uncharted waters right now. None of us have seen anything like this and I hope we don’t see it again, ever.

I’ll add this – I wouldn’t want to be Jerry Snodgrass. He had to make some gut-wrenching decisions even before Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issued an order that basically would have banned the tournaments anyway.

Q: Assuming winter sports tournaments are officially canceled, who will be crowned as basketball champions? Will they just use the Associated Press poll? Name withheld upon request

A: The two aren’t really connected. The Associated Press poll champions are independent of the Ohio High School Athletic Association. They’ve been crowned and that won’t change.

If the remainder of winter sports tournaments are indeed canceled at some point, I think when you look back at 2019-2020 OHSAA winter sports history, all you’ll see is a dash and maybe an asterisk explaining that no state tournaments occurred.

Q: Why cancel the NCAA tournament? Why not just postpone it a few weeks? Name withheld upon request

A: That question crossed my mind as well.

I’m not a doctor or scientist, but it seems without a hard timeline as to when this pandemic is going to end, there’s no way to know how long things will remain in limbo.

If you have a question for next week’s Monday Mailbag, email it to sports@thevwindependent.com.

POSTED: 03/16/20 at 3:47 am. FILED UNDER: Sports