COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – The 2020 high school football regular season is slated to kick off in eight weeks.
Between now and then, key decisions will need to be made by the Ohio High School Athletic Association on whether or not any fall sports will be played this year.
OHSAA executive director Jerry Snodgrass remains upbeat and optimistic.
“Our objective is to have fall sports,” he said. “Whatever we need to do, we’re gonna do it to try to get there. Two, we want fan attendance.”
Getting to that point is a tall task. Snodgrass said 11 schools in Ohio have currently closed their athletic facilities after reporting at least one case of COVID-19.
“I do believe that everything that we’re doing now that’s slow, we’re training. What we’re doing, everybody is looking for that phase three but I’d rather get to phase three when we can start the practices, if that’s what it takes.”
Snodgrass said a major issue for contact sports is financing and testing availability for student athletes, with high school budgets significantly lower than a college’s or university’s.
If coronavirus numbers continue to surge in Ohio, the question has been raised — could the high school football season be moved to the spring?
“A lot of challenges moving to the spring,” Snodgrass said. “One of the biggest things in Ohio with the large number of small schools that we have, especially in certain areas of the state, it’s very challenging to have multiple-sport athletes. So many football players play lacrosse, run track, play baseball. Having those two in the same time is very challenging. Now on the other hand, I would love to say this. If that’s what it takes, I believe that we have enough creative minds across the state to find a way to make it work….That’s why it’s still on the table.”
In the meantime, the onus falls on local coaches throughout the area to keep players safe in preseason workouts.
“They want to do more but they’re also on the frontlines of having to tell parents, having to convince kids that there’s a reason why we’re slowing down,” Snodgrass said.