by Cassie Mattia

Loveland, Ohio – The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) informed member schools, including the Loveland City School District Monday, April 20th, that Spring sports would officially be canceled. This decision was made after Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced earlier the same day that school facilities would remain closed for the rest of the academic year due to the coronavirus COVID-19.

OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass sent out a memo confirming to school administrators following Governor DeWine’s press conference about the Spring sports cancellation. For weeks, the OHSAA communicated that if schools remained closed for the year Spring sports would be canceled as well. Of course, there were several reasons that went into the final decision of Spring sports being canceled, one of the main reasons being that it would be nearly impossible to ensure the health and safety of all individuals and support personnel involved in practices and contests at all member schools.

OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass

“As we have stated in our previous communications, today’s announcement by Governor DeWine to close schools for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year also will now result in the cancellation of OHSAA-sponsored spring sports seasons including tournaments,” Snodgrass wrote Monday.

The OHSAA’s mandatory no-contact period for all interscholastic sports will remain in effect until at least May 3, and could in fact be extended until a later date. Coaches and school administrators have been encouraged to have non-mandatory electronic and online communications with their student-athletes during the no-contact period. The closure of school facilities includes all athletic facilities for any interscholastic training, practice, or competition.

In an interview Monday afternoon, Snodgrass reflected on the unprecedented times that the pandemic has brought to the nation and the impact it has had on schools and interscholastic athletics.

“I’ve heard from so many people who have said ‘You really need to understand what this means to our kids,’” Snodgrass said during the interview. “I’m a parent. I was a coach. I grew up every day as a player and a coach wanting to play high school sports and get to the state tournament. So I do think I understand that. I also have to go with the fact that my number one concern that I have, over everything, is the health and safety of everyone involved. It’s not just our student-athletes. It’s the parents, coaches, umpires, officials, the scorekeepers. All those things enter into this. It’s a tough decision and it’s one that I and all the other Executive Directors of the other states never thought we would have to do. Never did I think this would be the case, but I’ve tried to be as prepared as I could every step of the way.”

Snodgrass also addressed the Summer and the start of Fall sports in the interview

“July is a very physical month for our student-athletes entering fall sports, so we have already started looking at, if this continues through the summer, we’ll have the potential of having a lot of kids who haven’t had the physical activity that they would normally have going into a fall season. So for the health and safety of everyone, we have to look at the acclimation periods going into the fall, if that happens. We have to be prepared for that. We’re also talking about that if this does go through the summer, what is the likelihood that a student can get in to get a physical (annual medical exam). We have a sports medicine advisory group that is looking at that. They are looking at all aspects such as whether artificial surfaces need to be treated. We are relying on the advice of experts in our decision making.”

The OHSAA said that they will continue to communicate throughout the Spring and during the Summer regarding any adjustments to OHSAA’s off-season regulations, academic eligibility standards, sports medicine updates, and more. STAY TUNED!

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