If high school football is to be played in Ohio starting at the end of this month, then the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association is doing what it can to ensure that.
Whether the state, and specifically Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, will be in agreement may be known on Tuesday.
That’s because OHSFCA representatives are scheduled to meet with Husted via teleconference on Tuesday to review their 39-page proposal, which was submitted to the state two weeks ago.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association set a timetable on Friday for when a decision is needed. The OHSAA said if football and other “contact sports” aren’t permitted to play games by Sept. 4, those seasons will be postponed, presumable to 2021.
The OHSFCA’s proposal was received by the state on July 20 and mentioned by Husted in response to a reporter’s question during DeWine’s daily coronavirus press briefing two days later.
That proposal in great detail covers the feasibility of playing this year.
“I have seen it. It’s right here on my iPad. So we are taking a look at their plan,” Husted said. “They’ve done some great work. It’s very helpful to informing our conversations.”
The OHSFCA’s proposal has detailed procedure plans for practices as well as a “COVID-19 response plan.”
Game-day protocols are also outlined for both visiting and home teams. Travel guidelines for visiting teams via school buses have been established, as well as for limited spectator seating in stadiums.
A recurring theme, of course, for all the safety measures is being able to practice social distancing as much as possible, especially when not actively engaged in the actual on-field competition.
To that end, the proposal suggests 80 yards of sideline space compared to 60 from previous years and a halftime of 10 minutes instead of a traditional 20.
There is recommended 18 “minutes of full contact per day” compared to 30 in years past, and mandatory stoppages of play proposed are from four totaling 12 minutes to eight totaling six minutes.
All throughout the proposal are photographs, which illustrate the safety measures which would take place and be strictly enforced.
In Friday’s memo, the OHSAA reiterated no scrimmages or competitions between schools in contact sports are allowed to take place.
The OHSAA doesn’t anticipate that suspension being lifted any time soon — with the very real possibility that no preseason scrimmages in either football or soccer will take place this year.
DeWine is scheduled to have another press briefing on Tuesday.
Reach Portsmouth Daily Times sports editor Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926 or on Twitter @BoggsSports.