COLUMBUS — The Ohio High School Athletic Association reiterated its plans to move ahead with fall sports, even if it doesn’t feel completely comfortable with the idea.
The plan is to start fall sports practices as scheduled Aug. 1, Bob Goldring, the OHSAA’s interim executive director, said during a teleconference with statewide media on Tuesday.
Anything beyond that — things like complying with social-distancing guidelines, determining how many fans to allow in the stands and, well, whether or not to field a team at all in the midst of a pandemic — will be a school-by-school decision.
“We really feel it’s the schools’ decision whether they will have sports or not, just like every other extracurricular activity,” Goldring said. “We don’t think it’s the OHSAA’s decision to say “Yay” or “Nay” to sports. Our main focus is on our tournaments, and we control those. We really have to take direction from the governor’s office, his team and his medical staff.
“If there are going to be delays in the season, if there will be postponements, if there are rules put in place where there will only be non-contract sports during the fall, then we have to pivot and look at our different options moving forward.”
Goldring said he’s comfortable with the decision in the sense it’s in line with the direction many neighboring state’s are heading.
“My comfort level lies in the fact I was on a conference call with 10 other Midwest state sports associations and we are right now all in the same boat that everyone is forging ahead with their normal offerings for fall sports.”
He’s still not completely comfortable from a public health perspective, though.
“As a human being and a husband and a father, and reading the news and what’s going on with spikes in cases, being open and honest, I’m nervous about what’s going on.
“On the other hand, our medical experts seem to be saying the risk is not as high for the younger population, so we have to trust that and do everything we can to make sure we are following all of the guidelines and requirements to do our sports safely.”
Galion High School’s boys and girls cross country teams did a little running last week on the trails at Heckert Nature Preserve, one of the wildlife area’s controlled by the Crawford Park District. They are preparing for the official start of the fall high school sports season on Aug. 1.