COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio High School Athletic Association is committed to providing an opportunity for some schools to compete in fall sports next spring, but interim executive director Bob Goldring said Wednesday he doesn't anticipate a tournament option.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Tuesday afternoon all sports may continue with their planned fall seasons during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, he also added that schools who opt out of fall sports participation due to the pandemic — meaning the school has not participated in fall sports during the currently defined season — will have an opportunity to play sports in the spring.
Several Cuyahoga County superintendents signed a petition that requested the soccer and football seasons be moved to the spring, Cleveland.com reported Monday.
Goldring said the majority of the member schools are moving forward with athletics this fall.
"Right now, as I sit here today, I would say there would not be a tournament option for our schools in the spring for the fall sports," Goldring told a statewide media session Wednesday afternoon. "But, again, we need to work out those particulars. That's not to say if we get so far into the current fall season and we are halted like we were last winter and couldn't have the spring seasons — we would definitely look at coming back with some type of mini-type seasons after the first of the year for our schools to compete."
Cincinnati Public Schools has paused its athletics programs until a schedule re-evaluation Sept. 14.
Middletown is in Phase One of skills training for its fall sports. Middletown said last week its athletics season is still suspended.
Goldring said the OHSAA board of directors will discuss scenarios of schools who've opted out of this fall season during a work session Aug. 27.
"I think the safest thing to say is we are committed to having some type of opportunity for fall sports not competing this fall to compete somehow in the spring and having some window for them," Goldring said. "But, what that looks like is not determined at this point."
Goldring said during the 1 o'clock hour Wednesday afternoon that the Ohio Department of Health order regarding high school sports had not been completed to his knowledge.
OHSAA senior director of communications Tim Stried said Wednesday afternoon the OHSAA had not received official word on spectator capacity limitations for fall sports events.
Goldring said indications are that capacity numbers for fall sports events will be based upon the permanent seats in a facility. He said in the media session there was nothing official yet.
DeWine said Tuesday an emphasis will limit capacity with families and loved ones receiving preference on being able to see their student-athletes compete.
The soccer and field hockey seasons start Friday. The football season starts next week. Football teams are able to conduct one scrimmage either this Friday or Saturday.
There will be a six-week regular season for football followed by the postseason in October. The state football finals are scheduled to completed by Nov. 21.
Goldring said it was premature to speculate on where the state football finals will be held this season. Smaller college venues or high school sites may be an option.
The state finals were hosted by Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton the past three seasons (2017-19). The OHSAA has not announced a location for this season.
"I think it's safe to say that odds of us being at one site for all of our championships are probably not very high right now," Goldring said.
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.