TRL principals: 'We know it will not be the same without friends and family in the stands this spring'

With the launch of Oregon high school sports comes a perhaps not-so-surprising announcement: no spectators allowed.

The principals of the Three Rivers League high schools jointly released a statement today announcing that only certified coaches, athletes and approved event personnel will be allowed to attend contests in person.

But the good news is the league schools are working with NFHS Network to stream as many games as possible, including all varsity contests. Links to the broadcasts will be posted with Oregon Schools Activities Association schedules.

The decision comes as a result of meetings between principals, athletic directors, coaches and other support staff who spent time reviewing guidance from Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, the Oregon Health Authority and the OSAA.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Fans cram into the stands at a previous Canby High School football game. According to an announcement from the Three Rivers League principals, no spectators will be allowed at sporting events this year.

In the statement, the TRL principals cited statewide restrictions as a significant factor in the decision. Clackamas County and Washington County are presently in the moderate-risk category, which allows 100 people total for indoor sports and 150 people for outdoor. Multnomah County, however, where TRL school St. Mary's is located, remains in the high-risk category, allowing just 50 people for indoor sports or 75 for outdoor.

The statement said that even optimistic projections for risk levels in the three counties provide hard ceilings for attendance numbers that they said, "are restrictive enough to make it difficult for schools to run events with the normal number of event personnel, coaches and athletes. Including spectators has proven prohibitive for a number of reasons."

But Canby High School Principal Greg Dinse offered a little more optimism.

"Under our current conditions, we must restrict fans from attending; however, this situation continues to change," he said, "and we hope that we will be able to allow fans in the future as things improve. Thank you for your understanding and Go Cougars!"

The principals' statement noted that their top priority is for student-athletes to complete their seasons safely.

"We know it will not be the same without friends and family in the stands this spring," the statement said. "Still, we understand how important it is to provide this opportunity for our student-athletes to 'dare greatly' in the face of the adversity of the past 12 months, regardless of what precautions we must take to make it happen."

The modified season 2 sports that have started practices include football, soccer, cross county and volleyball. The modified season 3 begins April 5 and includes golf, tennis, track and field, baseball and softball. Season 4 begins May 10 and includes swimming, wrestling and basketball.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Kristen Wohlers
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