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Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020

OHSAA reaffirms August 1 sports practices

Van Wert independent sports

COLUMBUS — It seems like good news from the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

A memo sent by the OHSAA Board of Directors to athletic administrators, principals and superintendents on Friday reaffirmed their position that fall sports practices for low/non-contact sports and contact sports will begin on August 1 as previously announced. It also contained information about modified or condensed seasons.

“It is important to keep athletic activity moving forward,” OHSAA Board of Directors President Dan Leffingwell said. 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,” Leffingwell added. “Membership data also supports this decision.”

The data Leffingwell referred to comes from a survey that was sent to all OHSAA member schools earlier in the week.

“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.”

The memo included current timelines for practices and beginning dates for cross country, girls’ tennis, golf, football, soccer and volleyball. Cross country, football and soccer scrimmages currently are not permitted.

Additional notes in the memo stated:

• If contact sports are not approved for school vs. school competition by Friday, September 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, for some reason, 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.

• 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.

POSTED: 07/31/20 at 1:55 pm. FILED UNDER: Sports