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Husted positive about OHSFCA proposal

Timing. Coaches scheme over and over again, relaying their plans to their players. Game day preparation.

Time is drawing near for high school football. No one knows that more that Tom Pavlansky, the president of the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association.

Questions remain as contact sports’ foe, the COVID-19 pandemic seemingly has the upper hand heading toward the 2020 season.

Scrimmages and 7-on-7 contests have been banned by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s office, along with the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

Football, soccer and field hockey are considered contact sports and cannot face other schools at this point in time. The OHSAA stated “if contact sports are not approved for school vs. school competition by Friday, Sept. 4, fall contact sports and remaining winter and spring sports will move to a condensed schedule that will take place between mid-December and the end of June. Fall non-contact sports would move forward as scheduled.”

The OHSFCA sent a proposal given to the OHSAA, the governor’s office and the ODH. The coaches’ association met with Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted this week.

“It was scheduled for a half hour and I think it went 31 minutes. Right on time,” Pavlansky said.

He said Husted appreciated the work of the OHSFCA and was positive about the 30-plus page proposal about returning to play football.

“The one concern, I’m not sure it was about the proposal itself, was more or less about how are we going to make sure that everybody is following the proposal — the enforcement issue,” Pavlansky said. “That comes down to our coaches. Our coaches throughout the state do a great job of taking direction when it’s required. Our coaches are our best enforcers. Through focus and guidance from the OHSAA, that will satisfy his concern.”

Husted said non-contact sports have returned to competition since early June, which includes baseball, softball, golf, volleyball, tennis, track and field, swimming and cross country.

Contact sports (football, lacrosse, basketball, soccer, ice hockey and field hockey) returned to practice on June 22, but not competition.

There was a temporary order for contact sports to return to competition on July 4, which was renewed on Saturday. That order, Husted said, did not pertain to high school sports, which included testing of all athletes 72 hours before a contest.

“There has been come confusion about that this renewal represents the return to play this fall,” Husted said during Tuesday’s news conference from Columbus. “I want you to know that’s not the case. We are still working with the OHSAA to finalize that plan and we’re still working many options. We are keeping the options open.

“We want student-athletes to return to play. We’re trying to accommodate the health and practical consideration in the things that must go into any decision for the athletes, coaches and fans. We understand the uncertainty and anticipation surround the hopefully forthcoming guidance here in the near future. I can tell you, as the governor alluded, there is nobody in Ohio that wants to get this accomplished more than I do. We’re working thoughtfully that we get this plan finalized in the right way. I understand from personal experience as an athlete, coach, father and competitor how important sports are in the lives and development of our young people.”

DeWine, in his part of the news conference, said he understood the frustration parents have about school, sports and other extracurricular activities.

“We don’t exactly know what is going to happen as we move forward,” DeWine said. “Jon has been working with the OHSAA and coaches to get this thing figured out. We have provided for the continuation of practice and things that are normally done.

“The thing we’re not doing yet, because we want to get a little closer to the date and see and where this situation is with the COVID. We have not provided the final go as far as fall sports, in particular in regard to contact sports.”

Pavlansky said he and the rest of the coaches are focusing on a fall season, but there was discussion if contact sports cannot play, like football, they could play this spring.

“It did come up,” he said. “It was talked about as alternatives and about challenges that a spring season would bring. Our No. 1 priority is to have a fall season.”

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