PORTSMOUTH — Truth be told, if Jerry Snodgrass sends out an e-mail on a Sunday —and on a holiday weekend no less — then you know it’s utterly important news.
And, well, indeed it was.
That’s because, per an Ohio High School Athletic Association memo written by Snodgrass to member school administrators, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine was preparing to announce a significant amendment to the state’s “Phase 2” plan — regarding “re-opening of contact practice for all sports”.
Snodgrass, the OHSAA Executive Director, wrote that residential team camps — camps in which student-athletes reside overnight off-site of OHSAA schools — will now be permitted.
Snodgrass said the reversal on residential team camps, which were originally prohibited as part of DeWine’s “Phase 2” re-opening as announced on June 18 by Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted, results from recent court proceedings.
“Phase 2 will reopen contact practice for all sports,” Husted said that day. “This means basketball, football, lacrosse and other contact sports can resume scrimmages and full-training regiments as long as the safety protocols are observed. The start date for Phase 2 will be June 22.”
Snodgrass also emphasized — in a June 19 memo — that the “Phase 2” restrictions only allow for intrasquad practices and competition within the same school program at the same site.
Thus, “7-on-7” football passing scrimmages, basketball summer shootouts and team camps remained off limits.
But now, restrictions regarding residential team camps are lifted —per the expected amended order of the Ohio Department of Health.
Snodgrass used the examples of an “an overnight soccer camp or a ‘team basketball camp’ at the University of Findlay to take place provided the participants spend the night and follow all the restrictions in the amended order.”
“As you know, current restrictions within the PHASE 2 orders permit INTRA-TEAM scrimmaging for contact sports. As examples, 3 vs. 3 in soccer, games in open gyms and 7-on-7 in football amongst one’s OWN school players has been permitted. Traveling to other geographic locations to compete with another team in contact sports was NOT permitted. We were informed the order that has prohibited competitions between teams in geographically different areas will be amended today (Sunday, July 5),” Snodgrass wrote.
He said Sunday that the OHSAA would most likely receive the amended order and link to the online posting on Monday —along with other important information.
Most residential team camps are usually held at college and/or university campuses for days or a one-week time period in either June or July, but because of the coronavirus threat, many campuses closed in mid-March —and remain closed.
But, the OHSAA is leaving this particular summer’s participation up to its individual teams and coaches.
The OHSAA already waived its “10-day rule” for the summer of 2020, so there is no limit on the number of coaching days for workouts, training, open gyms or open fields.
Although, local health departments do “continue to be given control/oversight of schools and facilities within their jurisdiction. They retain the right to restrict permissions in Phase 2.”
“As mentioned previously, the OHSAA has no jurisdiction over team play this summer,” Snodgrass wrote. “Decisions to participate in these camps is entirely up to the individuals attending. There are no OHSAA consequences to teams or coaches who attend these residential/overnight camps.”
As for what “Phase 2” means, Snodgrass addressed the term — and the distinction from “Phase 1”.
“With Thursday’s (June 18) announcement, the permissions granted on May 26 for low/no-contact sports and contact sports (skill training) are being revised on the www.cornavirusohio.gov website to now be called ‘Phase 1.’ Phase 1 is what is currently permitted by the Governor’s office in respect to competition and skill training that was permitted beginning on May 26,” he wrote, in the June 19 memo. “Phase 2 permissions will begin on Monday, June 22. Mandatory and recommended restrictions are posted at: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/responsible/Contact-Sport-Practices-Non-Contact-Sport.pdf.”
Such inter-squad competitions as 7-on-7 football passing scrimmages and basketball summer shootouts remain prohibited.
Those may be the two best examples, for this summer anyway, of what is defined as “travel between teams in geographically different areas for scrimmages.”
Since the outset of the coronavirus threat, the OHSAA has been in near lockstep with the state’s accompanying orders.
Sunday’s memo was the latest in a series of communications from and actions by the OHSAA, which included an April 20 announcement that ALL 2020 spring sports seasons were officially canceled.
The focus since then has been the fate of 2020 fall sports, although Snodgrass said in a June 12 memo that he is optimistic that the fall seasons will begin on schedule.
Official practices for fall sports are set to begin on Aug. 1, with the first weekend of Ohio high school football being the last weekend in August.
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