COLUMBUS — In preparation for the fall sports season set to begin Aug. 1, the Ohio High School Athletic Association released sport-specific guidelines and recommendations for each fall sport as a plan to return to play amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The guidelines and recommendations were released by OHSAA interim executive director Bob Goldring who replaced Jerry Snodgrass in the same position earlier this month.
“Academic achievement, the development of leadership and social skills as well as the mental health benefits are known to be greatly enhanced in students who participate in our programs compared to those who do not,” the OHSAA release said. “There is no doubt that the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has already resulted in thousands of our students missing out on these life-shaping educational experiences over the past several months, and we certainly hope we can return to some type of normalcy as it relates to interscholastic athletics soon.”
While the guidelines for a return do give guidance for individual school districts and programs on how to proceed safely with their fall sports season, the decision on whether or not there will be fall sports competitively state-wide will fall back to the Ohio Department of Health and Gov. Mike DeWine.
During his Wednesday press conference, DeWine was asked of a similar proposal to the OHSAA’s released by the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association.
“I know everyone would like to know,” DeWine said. “Everyone would like predictability. But, our ability to have fall sports — all sports that we want to see — our ability to go back to school in a safe way, it really depends on what we’re going to do in the next couple of weeks. And so we’ve got to have everybody wear a mask.”
Boys and girls golf, girls tennis, and volleyball have each been cleared for competition between schools after being deemed as low contact by DeWine and the OHSAA. Cross country, field hockey, soccer and football have not yet been approved by the governor for competition between schools.