XENIA — The Ohio High School Athletic Association is planning on beginning the fall sports season as planned.
In a memo sent to superintendents, principals, and athletic administrators, Bob Goldring, interim executive director, said all sports can begin Saturday, Aug. 1, and low/non-contact sports (golf, girls tennis, and volleyball) can currently hold school versus school scrimmages and contests per normal OHSAA permissible dates and regulations.
School versus school competitions in contact sports of football, soccer, field hockey, and cross country are suspended.
“We do not anticipate that suspension changing soon and there remains the possibility that no scrimmages will be permitted in the contact sports of football, soccer, and field hockey,” Goldring said in the memo. “We are waiting for more guidance from the Governor’s Office and Department of Health on when school vs. school competition can begin and are hopeful of that permission being granted for our normal contest dates later in August.”
The OHSAA is also exploring moving field hockey and/or cross country into the low/non-contact category.
Goldring also said OHSAA officials are continuing conversations with the governor’s office on plans to ensure all are in concert.
” … If we want our student-athletes to learn the lifelong lessons and receive the social, emotional, and physical benefits that the privilege of participating in education-based interscholastic athletics programs provide, we all have to be accountable for following all mandates and requirements,” Goldring said. “By not following the mandates and requirements, we are putting our student-athletes at risk of not only contracting and/or spreading COVID-19 but also at risk of losing the season for themselves, their families, their teammates, their schools, and their communities. Mandates and requirements put into place must be followed in order for the governor’s office to continue to allow us to participate.”
According to Goldring, the OHSAA is working to finalize contest-day mandates and requirements that are to be strictly enforced, and administrators, coaches, and student-athletes will be held accountable for non-compliance.
“So as to not cause alarm, these mandates and requirements will be to elevate many of the recommendations that were provided in the OHSAA Return to Play Recommendations document to the level of mandates and requirements and should not require wholesale modifications to your game-day protocol,” Goldring told school officials.
Golf teams are permitted to play regular-season matches Wednesday, Aug. 5, while girls’ tennis teams can begin Friday, Aug. 7. Field hockey, soccer, and volleyball are slated to begin the regular season Friday, Aug. 21, while cross country and football teams can begin their regular season Monday, Aug. 24. The OHSAA is holding a cross country invitational Saturday, Aug. 15.