COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio High School Athletic Association has officially joined the adult and youth sports leagues state advisory group.
There are 25 members of the advisory group tasked with developing statewide guidelines for sports leagues as Ohio continues to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"No. 1, it's extremely appreciated very, very much," OHSAA executive director Jerry Snodgrass told WCPO Friday morning.
"I keep saying we (the OHSAA) have done this for 115 years and that 115 years of experience - we have a structure in place for oversight and it's good."
Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced Thursday afternoon that contact practice for all school sports may begin June 22.
The OHSAA, which consists of high school and middle school programs in its membership, offered input to the governor's office leading up to Thursday's announcement.
"We have asked OHSAA’s Jerry Snodgrass to formalize his role in advising in these matters and be part of the advisory group as we head into guideline discussions surrounding fall sports at Ohio schools," said Eve Mueller, deputy director of communications for Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine's office.
Snodgrass told WCPO Friday morning the formal invitation occurred within the past week.
He said the OHSAA and the governor's office had been in an "open dialogue" since late May, when the governor's office announced all high school sports could begin individual skills training May 26 at the school facilities at the discretion of the respective school districts.
"The lieutenant governor told me on the phone that it's important we are on the same page, and I couldn't agree more," Snodgrass said.
The adult and youth sports leagues advisory group was formed earlier this spring with the initial goal of examining if there was a safe way, while the pandemic continued, to allow youth and adult sports leagues to operate.
"The Ohio High School Athletic Association has been an important consultant throughout the process of re-starting organized sports during the challenging COVID-19 pandemic," Mueller said.
The OHSAA had 816 member high schools and approximately 760 seventh- to eighth-grade schools in its membership in the 2019-20 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.
"I'm very proud of how our schools do oversee things and regulate safety," Snodgrass said. "That is very appreciative that they've included us because we all have the same goal: We want to get this back to normal."