CINCINNATI — The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced Tuesday night that contact sports scrimmages are suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are waiting for more guidance from the governor's office and department of health on when school versus school competition can begin and are hopeful of that permission being granted for our normal contest dates later in August," OHSAA interim executive director Bob Goldring told member schools.
Goldring said he doesn't anticipate the suspension changing soon and there remains the possibility that no scrimmages will be permitted in the contact sports of football, soccer and field hockey.
"We continue to have conversations regarding the status of field hockey and/or cross country being placed into the low/non-contact category," Goldring said. "Again, we will certainly keep you updated if that changes for either or both sports."
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday afternoon more time is needed before a decision is made about high school sports.
"We are at a critical stage with this virus," DeWine said. "We don't know which way it's going to go. If we knew where it was going to be in four weeks, in three weeks we would be in a much better position to make a decision in regard to sports."
DeWine's next news conference is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
Goldring reiterated in a memo Tuesday night that low/non-contact sports of golf, girls tennis and volleyball may begin practices Saturday with school versus school scrimmages and contests to follow per the normal OHSAA calendar.
Football, soccer, field hockey and cross country can also begin official practice Saturday within their own programs.
"Our discussions with the governor’s office are clear," Goldring said. "If we want our student-athletes to learn the lifelong lessons and receive the social, emotional and physical benefits that the privilege of participating in education-based interscholastic athletics programs provide, we all have to be accountable for following all mandates and requirements."
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.