The Ohio High School Athletic Association is preparing for fall sports as usual, interim executive director Bob Goldring said July 7 in an email to member schools.
“Practices will begin on Aug. 1 and we will conduct our usual series of tournaments in 10 fall sports,” Goldring said in the email, which was provided to ThisWeekSPORTS.com. “As you all have seen during this pandemic, those plans can be modified or canceled quickly.”
Goldring also clarified that girls volleyball officially is considered a non-contact sport, meaning competition can begin. Other non-contact sports are baseball, golf, softball, swimming and diving, tennis and track and field.
A category for cross country has yet to be decided, according to Goldring.
The email came hours after the Ohio Department of Health announced that games and tournaments are permitted for contact sports through July 15 provided a set of requirements is met.
A director’s order issued by the ODH provides guidance, including testing of players and coaches for the COVID-19 coronavirus before and during competitions as well as daily symptom assessment.
Athletics trainers are to wear masks, and coaches doing the same is “strongly recommended.”
“Tournaments, games and scrimmages between teams for contact sports are only permissible so long as the teams agree to the list of guidelines in the order, including such things as testing of coaches, players, athletic trainers, support staff (and) officials before travel to the competition and during,” Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said during a press conference. “These restrictions are required for any of these types of (competition) to happen.”
The ODH will re-evaluate its temporary order after July 15.
Husted confirmed the order coincides with The Basketball Tournament, which is being played through July 14 at Nationwide Arena.
The announcement came two days after the Ohio High School Athletic Association announced that intersquad competition would be permitted at residential team camps.
Residential team camps are defined as events at which athletes reside in a given location for at least one night.
Husted also announced July 7 the start of the #IWantASeason social media campaign, aimed toward young people spreading the message that preventive measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus may help sports proceed as normal in the fall.
“At that age … you feel like you’re invincible,” Husted said. “But there are a lot of reasons (young people) need to care about the spread of coronavirus. …
“We all want to resume things that feel more like our normal lives, and playing sports is certainly one of them.”
For more information on the #IWantASeason campaign, visit LG.Ohio.gov/IWantASeason.