COLUMBUS, Ohio — Tuesday is the day. Finally.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is scheduled to make an announcement about high school sports Aug. 18 at his press conference.
DeWine did not offer further details but did mention that the number of fans will be restricted at fall sporting events during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the Ohio governor's office will be working on a final plan this weekend in advance of Aug. 18.
"We're going to have an announcement on Tuesday the lieutenant governor (Jon Husted) and I are going to make about high school sports," DeWine said. "We're working with the Ohio High School Athletic Association to get it right to provide guidelines to make it as safe as possible."
Football, soccer and field hockey are considered contact sports by the Ohio governor's office and have not been approved for school-versus-school competition as of this week.
"Our goal is to have this decided by parents, No. 1," DeWine said. "No. 2, by school officials, local health departments – all of that interplay. And so these are decisions that are going to be made."
The high school soccer and field hockey seasons start Aug. 21. The high school football season starts the week of Aug. 24 with Aug. 28 being the first Friday night.
"We and probably most people that listened to (DeWine's) answer took that as a positive sign that Govenor DeWine will have good news next Tuesday for all of our sports," OHSAA senior director of communications Tim Stried said.
Several Cincinnati-area high school athletics programs mobilized this week to finalize football schedules and attempt to make plans for game night for Week 1 at their respective venues.
"We're going to restrict the number of fans," DeWine said. "We want the athletes to compete. We want people to have their season, but we want to do it as safely as possible. And so this will be a little disruptive for some people, but what we want to make sure is that the parents – people who mean a lot to that particular child – have the opportunity to see them."
DeWine said those fans not able to attend games or events will have to find other ways to follow their players and teams.
"And then for the rest of us we will have to hear about the game or maybe we'll pick it up on the Internet, YouTube," DeWine said. "It's about the kids. And so we will have all the details. We're working out the details this weekend for everyone and everyone's sports. It will be coming. We look forward to Tuesday."
The low/non-contact sports that have already been approved for seasons are golf and tennis (seasons started last week) along with girls volleyball (Aug. 21 start date) and cross country (Aug. 24).
The Cincinnati-area school districts who are not currently involved in athletics due to the COVID-19 pandemic include Middletown, which suspended extracurricular activities July 29, and Cincinnati Public Schools, which paused athletics last week.
The OHSAA has 815 member high schools and 760 seventh- to eighth-grade schools in the association for this upcoming 2020-21 school year.
The OHSAA represents over 350,000 students competing in 26 sanctioned sports – 13 for boys and 13 for girls.