COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio high school sports may begin individual skills training after Memorial Day.
"It's a great day for the student-athletes in the state of Ohio," Wyoming athletic director Jan Wilking said.
The Ohio governor's office and the Ohio High School Athletic Association announced Thursday afternoon all high school sports may begin individual skills training May 26 at the school facilities at the discretion of the respective school districts.
"While the plans for the school year and the fall are still being discussed, we do know that skills training and conditioning for student-athletes is important to start now," Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said.
The OHSAA will remove the no-contact period for all sports starting May 26. Earlier this month, the OHSAA board of directors eliminated the 10-day coaching contact restriction for team sports coaches this summer. The contact period will run May 26 through Aug. 31.
The school closure order that Ohio Director of Health Dr. Amy Acton signed April 29 has been changed to allow school districts to determine the usage of all school athletic facilities -- indoor and outdoor.
"Today's announcement was a result of a great opportunity to provide input on reopening Ohio's sports while doing so safely," OHSAA executive director Jerry Snodgrass told WCPO.
"We felt that if the school closure act was amended and summer sports were permitted (with restrictions) and permitted non-school coaches to interact, train and coach students, our highly-trained coaches should have the same opportunities," he said.
Snodgrass told OHSAA members in a memo Thursday afternoon the announcement does not permit competitions of any kind, and there has been no date set for when competitions in these sports may begin.
Skill training is defined and the mandated and recommended restrictions are posted on the state's department of health website.
"It's a positive step forward," said Lakota West athletic director Scott Kaufman. "All of us are doing our part to stay in line with the safety guidelines that will help keep us open and moving forward. We are in this together."
On May 15, the OHSAA sent a memo to member schools that lifted the no-contact regulations May 26 for just baseball, golf, softball, swimming and diving, tennis and track and field. Contact sports such as football, basketball, wrestling and lacrosse were added Thursday afternoon.
"We are ready to begin the 2020 season," La Salle football coach Pat McLaughlin said. "Our kids have been training on their own and we are eager to get back together as a team."
The OHSAA said the 2019-20 school year for high school sports is completed. Snodgrass reminded member schools that all events after the conclusion of the spring sports season are considered “non-school events.”
"While many club/travel/youth programs reach out to us, we remind them to check with their respective organizations for their own guidance," Snodgrass wrote.
The OHSAA has 816 member high schools and approximately 760 seventh- to eighth-grade schools that belong to the association, which represents over 350,000 students competing in 26 sanctioned sports -- 13 for boys and 13 for girls.
"I know we are all enthusiastic about the day that competition for all sports can resume," Husted said. "And the conversations are ongoing with the Ohio High School Athletic Association and others about how we can do that and when we can do that. But for now we are focused on the next step of preparing for that day through skills training."
The OHSAA said additional information will be provided to member schools by early next week with guidance on fall eligibility and other items that impact school athletic programs.