COLUMBUS — The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced on Thursday that the winter sports tournaments of wrestling, basketball and ice hockey, which were postponed indefinitely on March 12, are now cancelled due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
The start of the OHSAA’s spring sports of softball, lacrosse, baseball, track and field and boys tennis is still postponed, which coincides with schools not being open.
Earlier on Thursday, OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass and his staff communicated with the schools that were still competing in those winter tournaments to announce the decision.
“We are just devastated that the tournaments cannot be completed,” said Snodgrass. “But our priority is the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, communities and officials. Governor Mike DeWine is asking all Ohioans to do everything they can to stop the spread of this virus. That request, along with our schools not being able to reopen for weeks, means that school sports cannot happen at this time. Even if our schools reopen this spring, it will be difficult to find facilities willing to host the tournaments. Most campus are shut down until mid to late summer.
“We are already planning for ways that these student-athletes will be honored at next year’s state tournament,” said Snodgrass.
The 16 schools that qualified for the girls basketball state tournament and the four teams that qualified for the ice hockey state tournament will all receive state tournament programs.
The 672 student-athletes who qualified for the wrestling state tournament will all receive a program, certificate and their weigh-in card.
Also, these four winter state tournaments and a few events during World War II (1941-45) are the only sports cancellations in the history of the OHSAA, which was founded in 1907.
However, boys basketball and wrestling were not cancelled during those years. ‘
The girls basketball state tournament was first held in 1976 and the ice hockey state tournament was first held in 1978.
No state champions will be listed for these four sports in 2020.
The OHSAA does not use state polls from the media or coaches associations to determine state champions.
A reminder that OHSAA coaches can communicate electronically with their student-athletes, but no practices, scrimmages or contests of any kind are permitted until further notice.
On March 13, Snodgrass sent this memo to member schools: https://www.ohsaa.org/news-media/articles/ohsaa-winter-and-spring-sports-update
More information regarding spring sports will be provided when available.
Of course, those (spring sports) postponements go hand-in-hand with what Mike DeWine — the Ohio governor — will decide regarding the closure of the state’s schools.
As it stands now, as DeWine officially announced on March 12, ALL school districts within the Buckeye State —public and private —are closed until April 6.
Should DeWine declare, at any point, that the closure be extended for the remainder of the academic year, then spring sports — which for Scioto County include track and field, boys tennis, baseball and softball — will be canceled.
Spring sports, should they resume in fact on April 6, would have a re-acclimation period of exactly one week —from Monday, April 6 thru Saturday, April 11.
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Portsmouth Daily Times sports reporter Paul Boggs contributed to this report