COLUMBUS — The Ohio High School Athletic Association updated member schools this week about the return of fall sports in 2020.
“The OHSAA Office is proceeding as if fall sports will occur, meaning practices will begin on August 1 and we will conduct our usual series of tournaments in 10 fall sports.
“As you all have seen during this pandemic, those plans can be modified or cancelled quickly. In working with the Governor’s Office, we are currently in the process of preparing a guidance document on the restart of interscholastic athletics. That document is in the editorial stages, so we will be sending that to you once it is approved. Further, we are planning to share a student-athlete acknowledgement/pledge document that we hope you will consider using. This educational tool will provide student-athletes with information on their responsibilities in participating during the pandemic.
“The Ohio Department of Health issued a Director’s Order providing guidance through July 15, 2020, for contact sport competitions. Competitive games and tournaments are now permitted for contact sports. During this period, practices and open gyms with another team or club and inter-club/team play are also permitted so long as all teams involved agree to comply with the requirements set forth in the Director’s Order. Lt. Governor Husted emphasized that this order is extended for a short, trial basis and that the responsibility is with all of us to continue exercising safe practices to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Here is a link to additional, short-term guidelines to help sports team continue their efforts to return to play: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/responsible/Games-Leagues-Conferences-Tournaments-Contact-Sports.pdf
Here is a link to the Director’s Order:https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/publicorders/Second-Amended-Order-Guidance-Contact-Sport.pdf
UPDATE ON VOLLEYBALL — While information was previously communicated to head coaches, we apologize for the confusion regarding the update not being sent to all administrators. During a recent court proceeding, it was asked if volleyball was considered a contact or non-contact sport. It was announced that the Governor’s Office viewed it as a non-contact sport, something which was previously a gray area. We will continue to communicate with each of you should we receive any updates, but here is the information that was shared regarding volleyball:
“We received a statement from an attorney that represents the Governor’s office that volleyball has now been declared a non-contact sport, effective immediately. OHSAA volleyball administrator Emily Gates has been in touch to request guidance be listed specific to volleyball, but in the meantime, please use the Responsible RestartOhio guidelines found on the Ohio Coronavirus web page for General Non-Contact Sports and Contact Sport Practices and Non-Contact Sport Competitions, which can be found at the following links:General Non-Contact Sports Guidelines:
What Does This Mean?
“This puts volleyball into the category of a non-contact sport (joining baseball, golf, softball, swimming & diving, tennis and track & field) and competition is now permitted in volleyball. Scrimmages, contests and competitions may occur with other teams.
UPDATE ON CROSS COUNTRY — As you have probably noticed, no information regarding cross country has been provided by the Governor’s Office as to what category cross country falls. As we continue our communications with the Governor’s Office, we will share any cross country updates with you.
WAIVERS FOR FALL CAMPS — Due to the changes in the NCAA recruiting periods, the OHSAA staff is working on a proposal that would allow a student-athlete a one-time waiver for the fall of 2020 to attend an ‘Identification Camp’ AFTER the student-athlete has participated in a scholastic scrimmage/preview/ game.
This waiver only applies to individual workouts/camps, not team (club) showcases. All events must take place prior to the start of the 2020 Fall Tournament play. Upon returning from the ID Camp, the student-athlete must follow school policy to return to scholastic team play. Once this waiver has become finalized, we will provide additional information to the membership.#IWantASeason
CAMPAIGN — The OHSAA, in conjunction with the Governor’s Office, has announced a social media awareness campaign to engage student-athletes and younger Ohioans in efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Everyone who looks forward to return to play can join in the campaign by sharing a video or photo that emphasizes how they plan to wear a mask, practice social distancing and wash their hands more regularly in order to slow the spread and keep the path open for sports to return in 2020. Those participating in the campaign should use the hashtag #IWantASeason.
AND FINALLY — As mentioned previously, the OHSAA Office has no jurisdiction over team play this summer. The decisions to participate in a team camp and/or compete against other teams are made by local school districts. There are no OHSAA penalties. All questions should be directed to school administrators or your local health department who have provided you with guidance throughout this time.