COLUMBUS — The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced Friday it plans to proceed with the fall sports season as planned, meaning sports will be allowed to begin official practices Saturday.
“It is important to keep athletic activity moving forward,” said Dan Leffingwell, president of the OHSAA Board of Directors. “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.”
Leffingwell said there is concern that if OHSAA were to delay its fall season that students would find other opportunities to compete in sports through non-school programs that may not be focused on safety.
“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,” Leffingwell said.
The announcement comes as Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County urged all districts in the county Friday to cancel high-risk sports like football, soccer and field hockey.
Public Health supported its decision with data that Montgomery County has the fifth highest number of COVID-19 cases in Ohio and has the highest percentage of cases in the 0-19 age group compared to Ohio and the other five largest counties.
The athletic association said it recently surveyed its member schools about a restart and more that 40 percent wanted to move forward as planned.
“Despite some school districts deciding to halt extra‐curricular activities, including sports, to start the school year, most of our 815 high schools are still able and eager to begin their seasons,” OHSAA said. “We will compete in the sports that the Governor permits schools to compete in this fall until the Governor, Ohio Department of Health or the OHSAA Board of Directors say otherwise.”
If contact sports are not approved for school vs. school competition by Sept. 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, OHSAA said.
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. The details of that modified season schedule were not immediately available.
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