COLUMBUS, Ohio — Superintendents, principals and athletic administrators favor starting all high school sports programs as currently planned and scheduled for this fall, according to respondents in an Ohio High School Athletic Association survey that was released Wednesday afternoon.
Member high schools were asked six questions Monday regarding the fall sports season during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results were released to member schools Wednesday afternoon, a day after the OHSAA announced contact sports scrimmages have been suspended.
The official start of fall sports practice is Saturday. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is scheduled to hold a news conference Thursday to update the state's COVID-19 data.
Three of the OHSAA's fall sports already have been declared by DeWine's office as low contact, including boys and girls golf, girls tennis and girls volleyball. Those sports can have competitions between schools.
Cross country, field hockey, soccer and football have not yet been approved by the governor to have regular competitions between schools without COVID-19 testing.
Of those OHSAA member high schools who participated in the survey, 1,330 respondents said they didn't have any positive COVID-19 cases from students or adults as a result of on-campus voluntary sports participation activities this summer.
There were 169 respondents who said there had been a positive case as a result of those activities.
Of those member schools who participated in the survey, 611 individuals favored starting the fall season on time. That included 312 athletic administrators, 206 principals, 63 superintendents and 30 respondents with a school title that wasn't recorded in the survey which was conducted through an OHSAA account.
The second highest vote total was 477 respondents who are in favor of delaying the start of all fall sports programs as appropriate and then start when/if conditions change.
There were 265 respondents who said the OHSAA should pursue a plan that moves the spring low/non-contact sports to the fall and move the fall contact sports to the spring.
There were 166 respondents who were in favor of canceling all sports programs as currently planned.
A second question addressed low contact sports and asked an opinion on its status.
The survey results showed that 664 votes including 345 athletic administrators are in favor of starting low/non-contact sports (golf, tennis, volleyball) as currently planned.
The second highest result in that category (255 votes) was in favor of a delay to those low/non-contact sports.
The survey results also showed that most respondents are in favor of competition starting in contact sports (field hockey, football and soccer) but that a minimum of one scrimmage should be permitted in those sports.
If there is any type of delay to the start of the fall sports season, 594 respondents favor a delay of two weeks until Aug. 17. The second highest vote total (475 votes) was a delay until Aug. 31.
If the fall seasons are operated but shortened, 614 respondents said their preference was to reduce the regular season and maintain the full OHSAA tournaments. The second highest vote total (325 votes) favors reducing the regular season and the tournament.
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.
Ohio is the fourth-largest state for high school sports participation behind California, Texas and New York.