OSAA extends suspension of spring sports and activities
In an expected move, the OSAA extended the suspension of interscholastic practices and contests for sports and activities for all member schools through April 28. The extension comes on the heels of Governor Kate Brown's announcement March 17 regarding statewide school closures
The OSAA Executive Board, during a conference call today, clarified the language regarding usage of high school facilities and communication between coaches and participants during the moratorium-like suspension period. The executive board also had general discussions around each spring activity and sport, varying timelines for decisions based on chronological order of the events, host venue availability and issues with following CDC, state and local protocols for gatherings, especially given event formats and that some events are indoor vs. outdoor. As a result, it was determined that both the Speech and Solo Music State Championships scheduled for April 23-25 and May 2, would be cancelled.
"As parents and former participants, the Executive Board and staff share in the disappointment of students, schools and communities regarding the cancellation of these state championships," OSAA Executive Director Peter Weber said. "We all remain committed to the health and safety of students throughout Oregon during this evolving public health emergency."
The OSAA Executive Board has committed to meeting on April 1 and again on April 15 to re-evaluate the suspension of spring activities and sports, along with the remaining spring state championships. This will allow the board to review any updated guidelines and directives in collaboration with the Governor's Office, the Oregon Health Authority, the Oregon Department of Education, the OSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and member school administrators from throughout the state as this situation continues to evolve.
While the announcement came as little surprise to those directly or indirectly involved, it doesn't make it any less disappointing for either the athletes sitting on the sidelines, nor the coaches and administrators overseeing them.
"Certainly not being in our normal routine with practices and competition is a bummer," Glencoe athletic director Matt York said. "Our student-athletes want to be out there perfecting their craft, being around their teammates, and having fun.
"Our coaches want to be there as much as anyone else too. However, in the light of the circumstances, the most important thing to realize is that our State, HSD, and OSAA have to look out for the well-being of others."
Yet, there's still hope. The OSAA executive board 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," Weber said. "If schools come back after that, say on (April 29), 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, Weber said.
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 that the Track and Field State Championships, originally scheduled to be held at the University of Oregon, will be — at least for now — split out and moved to different venues due to construction timelines for the completion of Hayward Field. New arrangements have the 6A, 5A, 4A events being held at Mt. Hood Community College and the 3A, 2A, 1A events at Western Oregon University, both on May 29-30.
While everyone remains hopeful that the resumption of school and spring athletics this academic year remains a possibility, it is also certainly possible that that may not be the case. But York understands priorities regarding such decisions, and is confident in both the people making them, and his kids' ability to handle whatever may come their way.
"It definitely comes with sacrifice, but a necessary one," York said. "Our kids are resilient and will make the best of any outcome."
Any further information will be communicated via the OSAA website at www.osaa.org.
Jerry Ulmer contributed to this story.
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