By Josh Brown
Miami Valley Today
MIAMI COUNTY — As of Friday, high school spring sports will still happen and are only delayed.
And winter sports’ postseason tournaments? The hope is still to hold them at some point.
The Ohio High School Athletics Association and OHSAA executive director Jerry Snodgrass sent a memo to its member schools Friday afternoon updating its official plans for the end of winter season and the start of the upcoming spring season after schools across the state were closed for the next three weeks by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine in an effort to slow the spread of a global pandemic, the coronavirus or COVID-19.
For spring sports, mandatory practices will tentatively be allowed to resume on April 6 and continue through April 10, with scrimmages and regular season games allowed to begin on April 11. The spring postseason tournament dates had not changed, according to the memo, with them remaining on the dates as currently scheduled.
Emphasis was placed on tentatively, though.
“Please note: Since the current situation is rapidly changing, any of these may need to be adjusted,” the memo said. “If they are, notification will go out immediately to the schools.”
As for the state wrestling, regional and state boys basketball, state girls and state ice hockey tournaments, they all remain postponed indefinitely as of Thursday’s announcement, leaving a window open that they might be resumed in some fashion once schools are back in session and not outright cancelling them.
“Given the rapidly changing events nationally and statewide, we are assessing the situation daily,” the memo said. “It is impossible to make a determination today, the reason for continuing them to be ‘postponed.’ Again, we are assessing this daily and we will keep you up to date on a regular basis.”
Regarding all sports, winter and spring, the OHSAA made clear that a no-contact period was in effect, and that the non-interscholastic rule — barring participation in any non-school sport in the same season as participating for the school team in that sport — was, as well.
For winter sports teams still alive in the postponed postseason tournaments, the memo said “we have implemented indefinitely a no-contact period, which prohibits any coach, paid or volunteer, approved by the Board of Education to provide coaching, instruction or supervising conditioning and physical fitness programs or open gyms to members of a school team in their sports.”
In addition, for all sports, “a mandatory no-contact period is in effect for all school-sponsored sports March 17-April 5, 2020. Additionally, there will be a mandatory shut down of facilities used for the purpose of conducting athletics activities from March 17-April 5, 2020.”
Schools were also encouraged to cancel any out-of-state spring sports trips, though it was noted that in some cases refunds could not be issued. In those cases, teams were encouraged to follow Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton’s guidelines regarding the number of people attending an event. Also, no new trips can be scheduled that were not already scheduled.
Miami County’s schools, which had already cancelled all practices, scrimmages and games during the shutdown for the next three weeks,
“We’re excited to hear that the OHSAA is tentatively continuing to plan on keeping the season for our spring athletes on,” Piqua athletic director Chip Hare said. “Of course, the key word is tentatively. But in a time like this, where we have a lot of questions about how things are going in our state, in our nation, in our world, this gives the kids some hope and something to look forward to.”
“Right now, the plan is to start back up with practices on April 6, until we’re told something different,” Troy athletic director Dave Palmer said. “Currently, all Troy High School and junior high athletics, including practices, scrimmages, baseball or softball games, track meets and tennis matches, have been cancelled in accordance with Governor DeWine’s closure of schools. We hope to resume practice and athletic events on April 6, and now we just have to wait and see if anything changes. But right now, that’s the plan.”
Troy Christian still hopes to send its wrestling team to the state tournament, which was scheduled to begin on Friday and last through Sunday before being postponed.
“We are disappointed and our hearts go out to our student-athletes, especially our senior wrestlers and the entire wrestling team and coaches. However, we respect and support our professional and medical officials who are making difficult decisions concerning our health and well-being, and what is best for our country, state and local communities,” Troy Christian athletic director Jeff Sakal said. “I speak the same for our OHSAA commissioner, who has also had to implement some policies for the betterment of our health. Being an OHSAA member school, we will continue to follow all OHSAA rules and regulations. These regulations dictate that all athletic activities are suspended until at least Monday, April 6. Further information and implementation of additional operating information and policies could be forthcoming.
“The health, safety and well-being of our young people is always of utmost importance and should not be compromised. Hoping everyone remains healthy and safe.”
Contact Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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