There are still many issues high schools and the Ohio High School Athletic Association must address before fall sports begin playing games in two months, but the issue of who will be allowed to play has been resolved.
The OHSAA announced Friday in a memo sent to its nearly 1,700 member high schools and middle schools all students will be academically eligible to participate in fall sports.
The association normally requires students to be enrolled in and earn passing grades in a minimum of five one-credit courses (excluding required physical education courses) each grading period. Eligibility is determined by the most recently completed grading period, meaning the spring grading period determines eligibility for the start of fall sports.
The change comes after school buildings across the state were shut down for the last two months of the school year as a result of orders put in place by Gov. Mike DeWine to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The buildings shutdown and transition to online learning caused issues for districts across the state — and vast differences in grading methods.
The ability of OHSAA administrators to adjust rules is a recent development. All rule changes previously had to be voted on by member schools. But member schools voted in May to allow OHSAA administrators temporary authority to adjust bylaws on their own.
In addition to academic eligibility for fall sports being adjusted, the OHSAA also adjusted its rules regarding transfer athletes. Students who transfer schools this year will not be subject to normal restrictions during the 2021 spring sports season. Student who transfer typically must sit out for one half of a season if they participated in the same sport at their former school.
The association also announced each athlete must have a sports physical to participate in fall sports. It recommends schools do not conduct mass student physicals, which is usually done by many districts each summer.
The OHSAA also announced it is reopening its office in Columbus on June 16. The organization closed its office when COVID-19 restrictions were put in place in March, and its employees have been working remotely.
The association lifted its no-contact period last Tuesday, which had been in place since March 16. Low-contact sports (like baseball and softball) are allowed to participate in camps, scrimmages and games as long as regulations for doing so issued by the state government are followed. Contact sports are allowed to participate in strength and conditioning.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.