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OHSAA suspends school vs. school scrimmages in contact sports

Beavercreek celebrates after a victory against Strongsville in the Division I state soccer championship on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff
Beavercreek celebrates after a victory against Strongsville in the Division I state soccer championship on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff

Fall sports on track to start practices Saturday

The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced the suspension of school vs. school scrimmages in three contact sports Tuesday.

“We do not anticipate that suspension changing soon,” said Executive Director Bob Goldring an in an update sent to school administrators and shared on the OHSAA website, " and there remains the possibility that no scrimmages will be permitted in the contact sports of football, soccer and field hockey.”

According to Goldring, the OHSAA is on track for the low/non-contact sports of golf, girls tennis and volleyball to begin practices on Saturday with school vs. school scrimmages and contests to begin in those sports on their normal dates in August. They are also talking about moving field hockey and/or cross country into the low/non-contact category.

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The contact sports of football, soccer, field hockey and cross country will also begin practice Saturday, but the OHSAA is waiting on more guidance from Gov. Mike DeWine at the Ohio Department of Health on when competition between schools can start in those sports. The hope is permission will be granted so those sports can start competing in games on their normal dates in August.

This week, the OHSAA sent a survey to administrators to ask to gauge their opinion on fall sports, asking among other things if they should start on time, be delayed or cancelled all together. The OHSAA has proceeded all summer as if fall sports will start on time.

“Our discussions with the Governor’s Office are clear,” Goldring said. “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. 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.

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“To that end, the OHSAA is working to finalize contest day mandates and requirements that are to be strictly enforced, and our 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.”