OHSAA Reaffirms Commitment to Starting Winter Sports


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OHSAA Reaffirms Commitment to Starting Winter Sports
Schools will continue working with local health departments regarding any pauses in participation

COLUMBUS, Ohio – In a memo to its member schools on Wednesday, the Ohio High School Athletic Association reaffirmed its position that the upcoming winter sports seasons will begin as previously scheduled. While individual school districts can pause sports at any time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the OHSAA does not intend to alter the statewide season dates.

The decision came after discussions with the Governor’s Office, the OHSAA Board of Directors, OHSAA staff and many school administrators, along with the results of a recent survey of OHSAA member school administrators. Of 1,464 survey responses 826 respondents (56 percent) voted to begin winter sports as previously scheduled.

“Though we are seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases in Ohio, the majority of our member schools want the opportunity to move forward with winter sports as planned,” said OHSAA Executive Director Doug Ute. “As always, the decision to play sports is a local school decision and there will certainly be schools that pause sports for periods of time in the months to come, but if the majority of our schools want to move forward, then we want to provide that opportunity. As we have said previously, our member schools provide our student-athletes with the safest possible environment to participate. If we were to delay, students would find opportunities to compete in sports through non-school programs that may not be focused on safety and are not education-based.”

The survey results showed 33 percent of school administrators favored delaying winter sports until early January, and 11 percent voted to delay winter sports indefinitely until statewide COVID-19 conditions improve.

Noting the Governor’s Curfew Order
As it relates to school sports, the Governor’s 10:00 p.m. Ohio curfew order does not mean that teams and fans must be home from their competitions by 10:00 p.m., but venues must be vacated by 10:00 p.m. The OHSAA encourages schools and conferences to alter start times, if needed, so that competitions end in time to close the facility by 10:00 p.m.

COVID-19 General Guidance (Including Mandates; Spectator Capacity, and Recommended Best Practices)
All mandates in the Ohio Department of Health Director’s Sports Order must continue to be followed for winter sports. Here is a link to the Health Director’s Sports Order: https://bit.ly/2RWa1jh. In addition, here is a link to the Health Department’s Responsible RestartOhio guidance document for sports: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/responsible/Youth-Collegiate-Amateur-Club-Pro-Sports.pdf, and here is a link to the ODH’s Responsible RestartOhio guidance document for sports venues:


It is especially important that requirements for facial coverings, social distancing and frequent hand washing be followed and that facility hosts disinfect and clean competition and high contact areas frequently. Also note that the Order has a limit on spectator capacity, which is the lesser of 15 percent of fixed, permanent seats or 300.

Winter Sports Requirements, Recommendations and Modifications
The OHSAA staff has developed sport-specific requirements, recommendations and modifications for schools when conducting interscholastic competition in winter sports. Links to the sport-specific requirements, recommendations and modifications for winter sports are available here:
Basketball: http://bit.ly/BKRecs Bowling: http://bit.ly/BORecs
Gymnastics: http://bit.ly/GYMRecs Ice Hockey: http://bit.ly/IHRecs
Swimming & Diving: http://bit.ly/SDRecs Wrestling: http://bit.ly/WRRecs

Mr. Slippery

Well-known member
I wouldn't expect the OHSAA to say anything different unless the survey results overwhelmingly favored going in another direction. If schools are willing to play, the OHSAA can't afford to shoot down the entire winter sports season and give themselves no opportunity to generate any revenue from tournaments.


Go Buckeyes
Our local school's first game was today. They had 0 fans in attendance. I think this is the path that they should take at the bare minimum.

To completely shut down HS sports doesn't seem like a reasonable response at this time. It seems these kids are better supervised and the schools are very proactive if one gets sick.


With all the districts (and the list gets longer daily) opting to shut down sports for a period of time, there is going to be a point where, "what use is it to proceed as normal right now?" will come into play.

In my opinion, which is gathered from people in coaching, administration, and in government, when that point is reached, a "pause" (semantics) will be enacted and a restart to the entire winter season will happen.... probably after the first of the year, if even then.

When this happens, the governor gets his way without being the heavy. (and believe me, his BS that he puts out there that he wants the kids playing is just that........ 100% BS) He will say "I didn't shut sports down, the schools did", just as he has said with bars and restaurants.