Spring championships still on table ... for now
The OSAA isn't yet ready to throw in the towel on the spring season.
That was the message Wednesday when the OSAA announced that it would extend its suspension of spring sports and activities through April 28, congruent with the governor's decision Tuesday to close schools statewide for the same time frame due to health concerns about the coronavirus.
"It all escalated so quickly. One day, we're getting teams ready to go on spring break trips and the next thing you know the suspension goes to the end of April," Estacada Athletics Director Andy Mott said.
The OSAA executive board, which met by conference call Wednesday, March 18, could have opted to cancel the spring season, but wanted to keep the door open.
"We don't want to string people along, but at the same time, we do think there's some time there," OSAA executive director Peter Weber said. "If schools come back after that, say on the 29th, we believe there's still time for a truncated season in those activities. I think sending a message of, 'Hey, there's still an opportunity,' is a message that they were interested in sending."
The board did not discuss how late would be too late for spring sports to return. That will be a topic for when it meets again April 1 and April 15.
"At that point, hopefully we have a really good idea of if schools are going to be able to continue on the 29th, or shortly thereafter," Weber said. "I would think that by April 15, we would have a firm idea of if we're able to continue."
This week, the OSAA staff has discussed options for each sport and activity should it need to organize an abbreviated season. Going forward, the staff will seek input from schools about potential plans, according to Weber.
If the school year is extended into late June, it could affect the OSAA's decision to move forward with the spring season.
"Certainly we would take that into consideration," Weber said. "To be honest, we also talked about, if kids are out of school for all this period of time, and then they come back, and the first thing they do is get them out of school to go to these activities and sports, it's kind of in the back of our minds that there needs to be a balance there."
The OSAA also announced Wednesday the cancellation of the championships for speech (April 23-25) and solo music (May 2), due in large part to organizational difficulties with venue partners.
"Those are really tough decisions," Weber said. "We know that those activities are just as important to those kids and communities as sports are in other places. I know personally, as someone who ran the speech state championships for a few years, what that event – along with solo music – provides for kids."
At this point, the OSAA decided not to cancel state championships for choir, band and orchestra. Weber said that will be up for discussion April 1.
Athletic Directors across the state are in an email chain to discuss what a truncated spring season may look like.
"It's crazy times — uncharted territory with mass cancellations of games," Estacada Athletic Director Andy Mott said. "The biggest thing is the uncertainty of what lies ahead. We are following the OSAA's lead and following their protocols."
For Estacada, the suspension meant cancelled spring break tournaments — a trip to Anaheim for the baseball team and to Central Oregon for the softball team. In the case of the baseball trip, the tournament rolled fees ahead to ensure the Rangers a spot in next year's tournament, while its house rental did the same.
"Our kids fundraised hard to make those trips happen, so I was happy to see that," Mott said. "One of the positives to come out of this is seeing people want to help each other out."
The suspension by the OSAA mandates no group practices, leaving athletes to do workouts on their own.
"The Tri-Valley Athletic Directors all met before the OSAA made their most recent announcement, and we all decided to go moratorium style and close down our campuses," Mott said. "That means all fields and courts are off limits. I feel for our seniors, who are looking forward to their final baseball season, but our number one goal is to keep people safe."
David Ball contributed to this report.
4A spring championship dates
Monday & Tuesday, May 18-19
Friday-Saturday, May 22-23
Track & Field
Friday & Saturday, May 29-30
Baseball & Softball
Thursday, May 21 — Play-in qualifiers
Wednesday, May 27 — First-round games
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