COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted said Tuesday afternoon he continues to work with the Ohio High School Athletic Association on a plan for contact sports this season.
"We are still working with the Ohio High School Athletic Association to finalize that plan, and we are still considering many options," Husted said at a news conference. "We are trying to keep the options open because we want student-athletes to return to play."
Contact sports for the fall sports season include football, soccer and field hockey.
"I expect there will be additional regulations that the governor's office and the OHSAA come to an agreement on that are in addition to what we've already put out that will be kind of the final thing that will allow them to decide yes or no," OHSAA senior director of communications Tim Stried said. "For those three sports, they have asked for additional regulations that they want us to put in place, so that's what we're working on."
Husted confirmed cross country is a non-contact sport and is allowed to have competition between schools. Golf, girls tennis and girls volleyball are also non-contact sports. The golf season officially starts Wednesday.
Even though some county boards of health in Ohio have recommended no interscholastic athletics be played until Oct. 1 due to the pandemic, the OHSAA continues to maintain athletics is a decision made by individual school districts each school year.
The field hockey and soccer seasons officially begin Aug. 21. The football season officially begins Aug. 24 with the first Friday night (Week 1) scheduled for Aug. 28.
Husted said Tuesday afternoon he understands the uncertainty and the anticipation surrounding the contact sports season. He is hopeful for additional guidance in the near future.
Husted met with the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association Monday afternoon.
The OHSFCA described the meeting as an encouraging meeting in a memo to member coaches. The OHSFCA released a 38-page season proposal in late July that addressed health and safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We just want to provide the best opportunity to have a fall season this year and to do so in a responsible way to serve the kids and the game of football," OHSFCA president Tom Pavlansky told WCPO in late July.
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.