The following communication was received today from the Ohio High School Athletic Association:
To: All OHSAA Member Schools’ Superintendents, Principals and Athletic Administrators
From: Jerry Snodgrass, Executive Director
Good afternoon to each of you. Thank you for our continued efforts to keep students engaged during this unprecedented time. I want to emphasize this communication is being sent to all school administrators so that information comes to you directly and not through other sources. Any change in regulations or policies will come directly to you before being released anywhere by the OHSAA. As has been the case, the current crisis evolves rapidly and as soon as there are major changes, I intend to update you as quickly as possible how those changes affect various regulations.
Ohio Dept. of Health Order Closing School Facilities
A major announcement yesterday was the Director of the Ohio Dept. of Health’s order that all school buildings will be closed through June 30, 2020. Through a call to the ODH, it was clearly stated that this extends to all school facilities as well and includes stadiums, baseball/softball diamonds and tracks. This clearly prohibits all schools from making their facilities available to club/travel/non-interscholastic sports during this mandatory shut-down. While we have no authority over each school’s facilities, our oversight to complying with this is the mandatory no-contact rule that has been in place. Please see below for an update on this “No-Contact Regulation.”
The OHSAA’s No Contact Period Extended through May 31, 2020
The OHSAA’s “No-Contact Regulation” is now extended through May 31, 2020. While this limits the ability for school coaches to directly coach their student-athletes and will also handcuff them from coaching them in non-school programs, it is a result of current restrictions and orders and puts all programs on the same level playing field. This regulation was implemented long before modern methods of communication and, while we have received many questions on what coaches can or cannot do as a result of “zoom” meetings, text messaging, etc., we have provided guidance that we would ask you to distribute to ALL your coaches. The intent of this regulation was to prohibit direct contact with students, not electronic methods. However, many have taken that to a new level to develop various interpretations of their own. This guidance, which also includes some updates to our General Sports Regulations, is posted at: https://ohsaaweb.blob.core.windows.net/files/BulletinBoard/OHSAAUpdatesApril30.pdf
While the OHSAA’s No-Contact Regulation has been extended through May 31, 2020, the Ohio Department of Health’s order to close all school facilities extends through June 30, 2020, there is every intent to make sure the No-Contact Regulation stays in place as long as the facility shutdown is in place. Though the current order for shutting school facilities is in place through June 30, our staff felt there would be a chance this could be pulled back to an earlier date. Putting the no-contact period in place until June 1 would provide flexibility in the event it would be. IF it were pulled back to June 15 (example), the OHSAA’s No-Contact Regulation would extended to that same date. If the shutdown remains in effect until June 30, the OHSAA’s No-Contact Regulation will be extended to June 30 as well. Staff simply felt it gave us more flexibility.
Much attention was given recently to a communication by the Indiana High School Athletic Association that waived all PPE (athletic physicals) requirements for 2020-21. Ohio (and nearly all states) believe it is much too early to make that determination, but I assure you that this subject has been on the front burner of our Sport Medicine Advisory Committee and guidance will be given well in advance. Additionally, other important information items that I want to provide you assurance on are:
– Eligibility. Since schools are utilizing many different grading methods, decisions on fall eligibility requirements will be released well in advance as well. While an obvious decision may be understood to be the best solution to fall eligibility, it is our intent to keep students engaged as long as possible before giving any update. Look for that toward the end of May.
– Fall schedules. Certainly, there are many unknowns. It is premature to release any of the many plans we have and are currently working on. However, every potential scenario is being discussed just in case so we can be prepared. Whether fall sports are delayed, played without fans, shortened (hopefully NONE of those) . . . but all scenarios are being worked on just to be prepared. And again, they would be communicated to you if anything becomes a reality.
#howicompete Campaign Launched by OHSAA and Allied Organizations
With school facilities shuttered through June 30 and student-athletes not being permitted to gather together, our staff is launching the #howicompete campaign to encourage student-athletes to train on their own at home and with instructions sent electronically by their school coaches. This campaign will collect and promote messages and videos posted by OHSAA member schools, media and the OHSAA’s allied organizations. We are asking organizations such as the various Ohio high school coaches associations, Greater Columbus Sports Commission, Ohio Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (OIAAA) and many more to help encourage and promote content from student-athletes and tag the OHSAA using #howicompete. Content will be promoted through the OHSAA’s social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) on its handle @OHSAASports.
Odds & Ends
- The OHSAA announced Wednesday the 2020 (and beyond) State Cross Country meet will be held at “The Fortress” in Obetz, a large facility that will provide a much great fan and participant experience.