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OHSAA fall sports still on schedule

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

COLUMBUS — All systems are go.
Barring any drastic changes, the Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Directors announced early Friday morning that fall sports will be played amid the COVID-19 dark cloud.
While all fall sports can practice, contests between schools in the sports of golf, tennis and volleyball have been approved by Governor Mike DeWine.
The OHSA is continuing to work with the governor’s office toward approval of contests in cross country, field hockey, soccer and football.
“It is important to keep athletic activity moving forward,” said Dan Leffingwell, president of the OHSAA Board of Directors and superintendent of the Noble Local Schools in Sarahsville.
“And with that, we believe our member schools provide our student-athletes with the safest possible environment to return to play and that our school programs are the best avenue to help students learn lifelong lessons and provide social, emotional and physical benefits that other programs cannot.
“Moving forward allows those students to continue to be engaged with their school coaches and teammates. Membership data also supports this decision.”
The OHSAA conducted a survey with several options of how to handle the current situation. The board reached out to each school’s superintendent, principal and athletic director.
Fall sports may begin practice on Saturday. Football, soccer and field hockey scrimmages are currently suspended but not canceled.
“If we were to delay, out students will find opportunities to compete in sports through non-school programs that may not be focused on safety and are not education-based,” said Leffingwell.
“Should data on COVID-19 change and/or the governor’s office make changes to our plan, we have flexibility that would allow us to look at implementing other models for our seasons.”
Golf may hold one scrimmage before contests begin on Wednesday. Girls’ tennis may have one scrimmage after practice begins and the first contest is allowed on Friday, Aug. 7.
Volleyball may have five scrimmages and one preview after practice begins and the first game may be played starting Friday, Aug. 21.
Soccer, cross country and field hockey are to start games on Friday, Aug. 21, with cross country meets beginning on Monday, Aug. 24.