OSAA to loosen classifications, league play if sports resume
If and when high school sports return, the playing field could look very different.
The Oregon School Activities Association announced Oct. 15 that schools will not be required to compete within their assigned leagues or classifications if high school sports resume in Oregon at some point during the 2020-21 academic year.
In making the announcement, OSAA executive director Peter Weber said the decision of the executive board was made to limit required travel for teams.
"I think many schools will continue to play in their league because their leagues make sense, but there are some areas where you may be crossing four or five counties within a league," Weber said. "If you can play closer to home, that's probably a better fit at this point."
The OSAA also will not use a classification ranking system to determine state playoff seeding this year — a decision made because many schools might now be playing outside of their classifications.
The format for any culmination/playoff week is yet to be determined.
"It may not be a state championship at all in some activities," Weber acknowledged. "The message was more about maximizing the participation opportunities."
It remains uncertain that sports will happen this school year. The OSAA's Season 2 activities — basketball, wrestling, swimming, dance and drill and cheerleading — are scheduled to begin practices Dec. 28.
However, the Oregon Health Authority rules currently prohibit all contact sports and any indoor sports competitions for school districts using distance learning. That means those winter sports cannot happen until Oregon Health Authority guidelines change.
Mark Miller contributed to this report.
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