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Soccer and cross country are a go, while football and volleyball remain in limbo.

PMG FILE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - The OSAA updated the high school sports situation Monday, Feb. 8. Soccer and cross country are a go, but volleyball and football remain in limbo as the organization awaits the state's safety revisions later this week.The OSAA Executive Board met (virtually) Monday, Feb. 8, to again discuss the prospects of high school athletics and activities going forward.

With Season 2 scheduled to begin competitions March 1, the state's governing athletic body voted to proceed with soccer and cross country, with practices beginning March 22. Yet, while limited contact sports got the green light Monday morning, "contact" sports such as volleyball and football remain in limbo as they await potential "risk" revisions from the OHA and Governor Kate Brown's office later this week.

The board voted to proceed with volleyball for the 47 schools located in the 12 lower, moderate and high-risk counties, but for the schools residing in the 24 "extreme risk" counties, just an outdoor option was approved going forward.

Football's future too remained uncertain despite non-contact practices beginning Feb. 8.

With expected revisions from the OHA and Governor Kate Brown's office presumably coming later this week, OSAA Executive Director Peter Weber remains optimistic that those revisions might offer hope to football players and coaches desperate to get back on the playing field. And if not, they're looking at providing a viable option that might at least allow for the type of interaction the executive director knows they need.

"We're anticipating, based on the conversations, some type of changes to the contact sports guidance in the next couple of days," OSAA executive director Peter Weber said. "We don't know what those changes are. But any change would be an improvement to where they are now.

"While we're waiting for that to potentially happen, we know that we need to be providing the options to schools that will allow people to move forward, depending on what that guidance looks like."

Options discussed in lieu of football games themselves included 7-on-7, flag football, virtual lineman challenges, and a virtual combine.

OSAA Assistant Executive Director Brad Garrett knows such options would pale in comparison to the games players and coaches so desperately want, but also knows something is better than nothing during what have been and continue to be unprecedented times.

"I think we all know going in that not a single one of these activities is going to replace contact football. We get it," assistant executive director Brad Garrett said. "But at the same time, we are leveraging every possible opportunity to find opportunities to produce activities that kids and coaches can do together under the current guidelines.

"We certainly remain optimistic that as we move forward, we're going to be able to see some adjustments to current policy that's going to allow a potential return to the game. That's what I'm hopeful for."

Also discussed was a "change of season request form," which would allow schools, leagues and regions to effectively reschedule their seasons to a later date in the event of restrictions disallowing competition.

The OSAA Executive Board will reconvene Feb. 17 to make what could be a final determination on Season 2.

Presently, the OSAA has mapped-out three shortened (6-weeks) seasons: Season-2 (Football, Soccer, Cross Country, Volleyball); Season 3 (Baseball, Softball, Track & Field, Golf, Tennis); Season 4 (Basketball, swimming, wrestling).

Jerry Ulmer from OSAAtoday contributed to this story.


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