COLUMBUS — The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced on Tuesday afternoon (March 10) that this week’s high school sports events will go on as planned, just without most of the events’ spectators.
In response to Gov. Mike DeWine’s directive that all indoor sporting events within Ohio be held without most spectators in attendance, in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, the OHSAA is scrambling to follow suit.
Locally, 11 Greene County area wrestlers representing Beavercreek, Xenia, Greeneview and Legacy Christian high schools are scheduled to begin the first rounds of the state individual wrestling tournament on Friday, March 12 at the Jerome Schottenstein Center, located on the Ohio State University campus in Columbus.
Ohio State, with the largest student population in the country, announced earlier this week that it would be holding its classes online only for at least the rest of this month, in an effort to slow down the virus.
The Carroll High School girls basketball team will be competing in the Division II state semifinals at OSU’s St. John Arena on Thursday. And while there are no Greene County teams involved this season, the state ice hockey tournament will also take place, starting on Saturday at Nationwide Arena, in Columbus.
Nationwide Arena is the home rink of the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets, who announced earlier on Tuesday that they planned to continue playing, with fans, as scheduled.
“We have been in contact with the National Hockey League and, given the facts before us, it has been determined that our scheduled games, including this Thursday vs. Pittsburgh and Saturday vs. Nashville, will go on as scheduled and be open to ticketed fans that wish to attend,” the Blue Jackets organization said in a statement.
As of early Tuesday evening, a determination as to the number of immediate family members who could attend the OHSAA sports events had yet to be determined.
“This will be a very difficult time for our schools and fans, but we cannot ignore the directive of the Governor,” OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass said in an OHSAA press release “We are pleased that our tournaments can continue and we will soon determine who can attend. However, we can already say that it will most likely be no more than the immediate family of the student-athletes participating in the event.”
Boys basketball regional tournament games scheduled for Tuesday night were permitted to proceed with a full complement of fans. The OHSAA stated that it will announce on Wednesday morning (March 11) how the tournaments will proceed moving forward.
While the deadline for media credentials has passed, and confirmation emails had been sent out by the OHSAA on Tuesday morning, there was no official word as to whether the number of media members covering the state and regional events this week would be reduced as a result of the governor’s announcement.
According to the OHSAA press release: “More information will be released as soon as possible, including the process for tickets already sold and what kind of media coverage will be permitted at the state tournaments.”
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123. We’ll post any possible updates to the OHSAA’s decision on our xeniagazette.com and fairborndailyherald.com websites as soon as we can.