Usually, ordinarily, and now wishfully, this particular Thursday (today) at noon we would be tuned in to the true tipoff of March Madness.
However, on this day at noon, and we encourage everybody that has ANY vested interest in the 2020 Ohio High School Athletic Association spring sports season to tune in too.
As announced on Monday, the OHSAA — per Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass — will host a press conference for Thursday at noon, which will be live-streamed through OHSAA.tv and the OHSAA’s social media platforms (@OHSAASports on Twitter and Facebook).
Snodgrass will provide updates and information on the OHSAA’s winter tournaments, which were postponed indefinitely last Thursday, along with updates on spring sports.
He will also take questions from the assembled media.
OHSAA member schools are encouraged to watch the press conference, as Snodgrass will respond to some of the frequently asked questions from the past several days.
School administrators and coaches can also submit questions for the press conference to email@example.com.
Late last Friday afternoon, Snodgrass issued a memo to member schools, as the update was related to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s recent order mandating school closures beginning this past Monday — and their impact on school‐based athletics.
As announced a week ago, ALL winter sports tournaments, which for basketball include the annual girl’s state tournaments and the boy’s regional tournaments, are indefinitely postponed.
The OHSAA stated it would address the situation daily, hence the tag “postponed” applies —and NOT “canceled”.
At least not yet.
As for all sports, both winter and spring, a mandatory no‐contact period is in effect for all school‐sponsored sports —which means starting Tuesday (March 17) and until April 6 — there is to be NO practices, scrimmages and/or organized competition taking place.
That means nothing anywhere, by anybody.
Additionally, Snodgrass wrote there will be a mandatory shutdown of facilities used for the purpose of conducting athletics activities over that same time frame.
He also mentioned “a couple of key points” (as listed below), and highly encouraged out-of-state travel for spring sports-related events to be altogether canceled.
1.) We are RELYING on your communication with your coaches to ensure compliance. Bylaw 11 (Penalties) of the OHSAA Handbook outlines the ability to assess penalties for violation. Obviously, we do not want violations, which makes your oversight and communication vital.
2.) The OHSAA Non‐Interscholastic Rule is still applicable to all athletes, including spring sport athletes. For spring sport athletes, they are in violation of the non‐interscholastic rule if they participate in any non‐school sport in the same season if they have already participated in a scrimmage or contest for the school team in that sport. Additionally, at no time are they permitted to participate in any non‐school sport exceeding the 50-percent limitation defined in General Sport Regulation 7.
Since Monday, speculation has run rampant along social media and Internet message boards about what will exactly entail at this presser.
A large court of public opinion, unfortunately already, is of the belief that the 2020 OHSAA spring sports season will be canceled — and not an abbreviated season taking place with say “conference-only” schedules including Saturday doubleheaders, then the postseason tournaments spanning mid-May to mid-or-late June.
That’s definitely, and especially for our senior student-athletes, not what they want to hear.
Nor did they want to hear on Sunday that DeWine was thinking about extending the Ohio school closure to longer than April 5 — and possibly nix the remainder of the academic year.
Kansas became the first state to do just that, as announced on Tuesday night.
And, if Ohio eventually follows suit, then spring sports for this year will in fact not happen.
Snodgrass, to his due credit, could have easily announced in that memo on Friday that spring sports (and winter sports tournaments) were just going to be canceled completely.
But, he kept a flame of hope —despite how dim — that the season could begin with an April re-acclamation period for exactly one week (April 6 through April 11).
And who knows, he may say that spring sports won’t start in April, but in fact, will in May.
But whatever Snodgrass announces on Thursday, expect it to be in line with what will happen regarding school closures.
We have no inside information, so we can’t say for sure.
But we will tune in at noon, and we encourage you to do the same.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved