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OHSAA: Winter season a go

COLUMBUS — The Ohio High School Athletic Association has reaffirmed its position that it does not intend to alter the previously announced statewide winter season dates, though it did acknowledge that individual school districts can pause sports at any time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The OHSAA made its position known in a memo sent Wednesday to member schools.

Bowling began Nov. 13, girls basketball started on Friday (Nov. 20), boys basketball is scheduled to start on Nov. 25, swimming and diving on Nov. 30 and wrestling on Dec. 3.

The decision to keep things as is came after discussions with the Governor’s office, the OHSAA Board of Directors, OHSAA staff and many school administrators, along with the results of a recent survey of OHSAA member school administrators. Of 1,464 survey responses, 826 respondents (56 percent) voted to begin winter sports as previously scheduled.

“Though we are seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases in Ohio, the majority of our member schools want the opportunity to move forward with winter sports as planned,” OHSAA Executive Director Doug Ute said. “As always, the decision to play sports is a local school decision and there will certainly be schools that pause sports for periods of time in the months to come, but if the majority of our schools want to move forward, then we want to provide that opportunity.

“As we have said previously, our member schools provide our student-athletes with the safest possible environment to participate. If we were to delay, students would find opportunities to compete in sports through non-school programs that may not be focused on safety and are not education-based.”

The survey results showed 33 percent of school administrators favored delaying winter sports until early January, and 11 percent voted to delay winter sports indefinitely until statewide COVID-19 conditions improve.

As it relates to school sports, the Gov. Mike DeWine’s 10 p.m. Ohio curfew order does not mean that teams and fans must be home from their competitions by 10, but venues must be vacated by that time. The OHSAA encourages schools and conferences to alter start times, if needed, so that competitions end in time to close the facility by 10 p.m.

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