The Ohio High School Athletic Association said in a memo to school administrators on Friday it will lift rules restricting in-person practice and conditioning for six sports on May 26.
Baseball, softball, track and field, tennis, golf and swimming and diving teams at member schools will be allowed to gather for activities, so long as current regulations for mass gatherings in effect by order of the state government are adhered to.
The memo was sent a day after Gov. Mike DeWine announced low- and no-contact sporting events could resume May 26.
After DeWine’s announcement, the Ohio Department of Health released several protocols that must be in place for those sporting events, including a requirement athletes, coaches and spectators adhere to six-foot social distancing at all times. Coaches and athletes must also wear face coverings at all times.
“Since the Governor has not identified which sports will fall under the ‘low/no-contact sports,” a decision will be forthcoming on the no-contact period for those remaining sports as soon as information is provided to us,” OHSAA executive director Jerry Snodgrass wrote in the memo.
“Under the current decision, all other sports have not been identified as being able to start. Please tell your other sport coaches to remain patient as we will make updates as soon as the Governor’s office provides more information on what sports will be permitted, and every intent is to align with the Governor’s orders.”
The OHSAA reiterated in the memo that while low- to no-contact sporting events will be allowed starting on May 26, the association’s spring sports remain canceled.
The OHSAA’s no-contact period went into effect March 16, which coincided with an order by DeWine that all school buildings close in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The association previously stated its no-contact period would stay in place as long as school buildings were closed. The state extended its school building closure to June 30 late last month.
Despite the school building closure still being in place, Snodgrass wrote, “Since Gov. DeWine announced yesterday in his ‘Responsible Restart Ohio’ plan that certain sports will be permitted to begin on May 26, it becomes necessary to provide school coaches the opportunities (to conduct team activities).”
The memo was posted online on various platforms by dozens schools Friday despite Snodgrass stating in the memo the association wasn’t sharing the information with media because he wanted to attempt to “make certain (administrators) receive this and can directly communicate with your coaching staff and ultimately with student-athletes at your respective schools.”
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.