With the coronavirus making its way through the state, the Ohio High School Athletic Association made the decision on Thursday to continue the indefinite postponement of all current winter sports tournaments.
With the unprecedented illness, the OHSAA has been trying to salvage what it can of high school sports.
However, the outlook is uncertain, according to OHSAA executive director Jerry Snodgrass during a press conference on Thursday.
Winter tournaments are still postponed, but Snodgrass said an answer could come by today or Satuday on whether they will be altogether cancelled.
“We have to (make a decision),” Snodgrass said. “We don’t want to lead people on.”
Some of the biggest concerns he gave for reasons a decision needs to be made are the availability of sites and the number of people it would require to host and officiate events that could be exposed to COVID-19.
“There are people who are in the risk category that we can not and will not subject to being faced with being infected by this virus.”
Some winter sports in Ohio were in the final rounds of their tournaments with ice hockey, girls basketball and wrestling competing on the state level.
Those events were supposed to be completed by March 14.
The boys basketball tournament was at the regional level and was scheduled to conclude this weekend.
Snodgrass said the potential for opening one sport versus another was highly improbable.
That is especially true with wrestling, where the state tournament was set to draw 621 athletes.
Lincoln Heard and Erryl Will of Marysville and Reece Chapman of Jonathan Alder were scheduled to compete in the state mat tournament.
“Wrestling, due to its size and possibly splitting it up to different sites is very difficult to get it down to the CDC’s (Center for Disease Control) recommendation of no more than 10 people gathering in one spot.”
Snodgrass also addressed spring sports.
The OHSAA spring season was scheduled to start March 28, but due to Gov. Mike DeWine’s closure of schools until April 6, the OHSAA issued a no-contact period until that time.
This pushed back the opening of the spring season to April 11, with coaches allowed to hold practices starting April 6.
Snodgrass emphasized that schedule is tentative.
“What could change that schedule overnight is the governor’s decision to extend the closure of schools,” he said. “ It doesn’t mean spring sports are canceling, but it absolutely has to be on the table.”
If the spring season does get a delayed start, Snodgrass said tournaments would remain on schedule.
It could again be due to site availability and the shortening the season.
However, the tournament as well could be cancelled.
“We have held on to spring sports, we still have room (in the end of the year),” Snodgrass said. “I have kept the window for spring sports because of ‘what ifs.’ We have some wiggle room, but we are talking about site availability again.”
Snodgrass mentioned that there are athletic venues that have shut down into June, limiting OHSAA’s location to host state tournaments.
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