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Hope remains that a spring season can be played this year in Oregon, but doubts loom

Don't throw in the towel on the spring sports season just yet.

On the heels of the OSAA canceling both the girls' and boys' basketball tournaments and postponing the start of the spring season due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, hope remains that some kind of season can be played for every athletic activity on the spring slate.

Per Gov. Kate Brown's announcement regarding statewide school closures, the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) has extended the suspension of interscholastic practices and contests for sports and activities for all member schools through April 28.

However, 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 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.

The OSAA track and field state championships, originally scheduled to be held at the University of Oregon, will be 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 Mount Hood Community College and the 3A, 2A, 1A events at Western Oregon University, both on May 29-30.

The governor's office announced March 17, that students wouldn't be back in school until at least April 28. So now, local spring sports seasons are in a holding pattern of sorts.

With Brown's latest announcement, it appears that if any season is going to be squeezed in, it'll have to transpire in May.

The regular season would be shortened significantly, the post-season possibly as well. Many coaches are giving their teams workouts that they can do at home on their own in the hopes of staying in shape if a season transpires.

Health and safety come first, of course. But these programs are itching to get back to normalcy, to give their players a chance to see the field, course or track again.

There is a chance some sort of spring season could occur. There have been no official cancellations on the OSAA's behalf. While the organization was quick to pull the plug on the basketball state tournaments, it was patient when looking at all the options for the spring and ultimately decided to postpone the start of the season, not cancel it outright.

It would take some maneuvering, a bit of patience and understanding from everyone involved.

Yet, spring athletics are still a possibility, even if a truncated season is the only course of action. If and when schools are reopened, then athletics get can back on track and up to speed.

It would be a tall task, because the OSAA year ends on Memorial Day and the OSAA doesn't govern activities after May 25.

That said, there have been baseball and softball championships played in early June, after the OSAA extended its year to accommodate all parties.

There is optimism, from coaches, from athletes and parents that some semblance of a season can be salvaged, no matter how small or short.

Athletes would probably need a week or so of practices to get back into the swing of things.

During this time coaches can communicate with students in accordance with local school district policy, but not organize or participate in workouts. Groups that congregate are encouraged to be less than 10 people.

Athletes are allowed to work out on their own, but not in an organized team setting.

The OSAA said, "During this suspension, we will evaluate this evolving public health situation with the Oregon Health Authority, the Oregon Department of Education, the OSAA Executive Board, the OSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and member school administrators from throughout the state to determine when, or if, to resume the spring season."

If, and when, the high school spring sports season resumes, there are still other considerations to look at before competition begins.

The OSAA-sanctioned spring season sports include baseball, softball, boys track and field, girls track and field, girls' tennis, boys' tennis, boys golf and girls golf.

Many believed the season would kick off with practices on April 1 with games beginning on April 8. Now, who knows?

The Beaverton girls' basketball team reached the Class 6A semifinals before the OSAA canceled the rest of the state tournament. The day before the semis the OSAA planned on allowing the postseason to continue, only with no fans, parents or patrons in the stands.

The spring season, should it be allowed to commence, could look similar, with nobody but coaches, players and credentialed media allowed to watch. But that's simply a proposition at this point. Everyone involved is taking this process day-by-day.

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