XENIA — The Ohio High School Football Coaches Association has submitted a 37-page plan to Gov. Mike DeWine describing in great detail a plan to play football this fall.
The plan spells out how Ohio’s 709 schools playing 11-man football would approach practice and game-day activities in the state. In a release on its website, the association said it put together a committee of coaches, research from medical professionals and the responsible restart guidelines from the governor’s task force to develop the plan.
“With the uncertainty surrounding the State of Ohio during the coronavirus pandemic, it has become clear that there needs to be a voice from the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association … ” the release said.
Much of the proposal describes how social distancing will take place during practice, in the locker room, on the sideline and field, in the press box, and even at the concession stand.
Major points include:
— Social distancing will take place whenever possible and practical during games and practices.
— During the preseason, 11-on-11 full contact/live tackling practice is limited to a single nine-minute offense session and a single nine-minute defense session per day during the preseason (a reduction of 12 minutes per day based on current OHSAA guidelines).
—During the season, full contact/live tackling is limited to two nine-minutes sessions two days a week for both offense and defense.
— Stretching the team box on the sideline from 50 yards to 80 yards.
— In addition to the mandatory stoppages of play after each quarter, there will be one midway through each quarter to decrease the amount of contact time.
— Masks worn by all attendees.
— Spectator seating designed for social distancing.
— Halftime shortened from 20 to 12 minutes.
— Each player must have their own water bottle, which can be filled from a central location.
— No post-game handshakes, post-game team meetings on the field will utilize social distancing, and players are not permitted to linger around the field after the post-game meeting.
— Temperature of each spectator will be taken as they enter, face coverings will be required unless it is exempted under the state guidelines, fans are not allowed to congregate before or after the games, and standing along fence lines will be prohibited.
— Protocols are in place to specifically address positive COVID-19 cases.
“I think the plan is a solid proposal that meets the requirements that have been laid forth in other sports,” said Xenia assistant football coach Matt Bartley, the OHSFCA Region XIV director. “These times are fluid and unprecedented. Things can change in a moment’s notice based on what the governor, the OHSAA, or the CDC says. We are here to serve the game of football, our athletes and our members. The OHSFCA is being proactive to have a football season this fall and that drove the proposal to be designed.”
Bartley added that positive feedback was received from the Ohio High School Athletic Association and that the coaches association is “eager to work with the governor’s office, medical professionals, and the OHSAA to ensure an opportunity for a fall football season.”
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.