COLUMBUS, Ohio — Contact practice for all sports may start June 22, Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced Thursday.
"Phase 2 will reopen contact practice for all sports," Husted said during Gov. Mike DeWine's news conference. "This means basketball, football, lacrosse and other contact sports can resume scrimmages and full training regiments as long as the safety protocols are observed. The start date for Phase 2 will be June the 22 — next week."
The Ohio High School Athletic Association is expected to send a memo to member schools regarding the update later today or by Friday morning.
The definition of a scrimmage under the new rules for contact sports is for intrasquad practices and open gyms within the same school program at the same site.
For example, Thursday's announcement doesn't include opportunities for two opposing schools competing in a 7-on-7 football workout or a high school basketball team that wishes to visit a college camp this summer.
The specific training guidance will soon be updated on the state's coronavirus website.
Husted said the goal is to allow young athletes to continue to develop strength and agility skills for future competition.
"It's great to be able to see we will be able to take that next step starting next week," Husted said.
He also said it's up to each individual school district and local sports organizers to determine the best time to proceed during this next phase.
Husted thanked the OHSAA for its collaboration during the plans for the next phase.
The OHSAA said in a memo June 12 it remained optimistic the fall sports season will begin on schedule.
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Official OHSAA practice for fall sports begins Aug. 1. The high school golf season begins Aug. 5 while the girls tennis season begins two days later with some other sports to follow. Football is able to start its season Aug. 24.
On May 21, the Ohio governor's office and the OHSAA announced all high school sports could begin individual skills training after Memorial Day at the school facilities at the discretion of the respective school districts.
Schools have been permitted to open their facilities for competitions in low/non-contact sports (golf, tennis, swimming, baseball, softball, track and field and cross country) and for skills training/conditioning for contact sports.
The OHSAA had 816 member high schools and approximately 760 seventh- to eighth-grade schools in the association 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.