Cancellation Of Spring Sports Looking Imminent

Staff Writer

All indications are looking like spring sports may be canceled.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSSA) released a memo to schools last week, stating that if schools were currently closed, they should remain closed — prompting the association to cancel the spring sports season before it started. 

“Plans appear to be moving forward to ‘open up’ the nation and Ohio in ‘phases,’” the memo stated. “It was stated that ‘schools that are currently closed should remain closed.’  When this is confirmed by Gov. [Mike] DeWine and/or Superintendent of Schools [Paolo] DeMaria, we will be confirming the cancellation of spring sports as we have previously indicated.”

Spring sports in Ohio include baseball, softball, track and field, boys tennis and lacrosse.

The memo confirmed the cancellation of the seventh and eighth-grade track and field state championships — scheduled for May 16 — but encouraged a regular season despite the growing possibility of high school sports being canceled. 

“Obviously, this was not an easy decision, but one that had to be made due to logistics,” stated in the memo. “As all coaches and athletic administrators know, qualifiers are based on FAT qualifying times, and with the extremely small window of qualifying time possibilities, we simply did not feel that this was feasible. 

We continue to encourage all seventh and eighth-grade programs to conduct a regular season and to keep our young athletes involved both mentally and physically.”

The OHSAA has canceled the annual Scholar Athlete Program for the 2019-2020 school year, including the awarding of scholarship money and the annual banquets held by the OHSAA’s six District Athletic Boards.

“The decisions that have been made by this office have not been easy ones. Our office understands as well as anyone that sports, and all that comes along with them, are extremely important to these student athletes,” the memo stated. “Please know that we do not take these decisions lightly. As mentioned above, athlete safety and fairness are our top priority when evaluating our options.”

Indiana, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Illinois, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma, Virginia, Texas, California, Idaho, Missouri, Utah, Tennessee and New Mexico are some of the states who have canceled spring sports. Florida governor announced school closures for the rest of the school year — prompting that state's association to most likely announced the cancellations of sports.