OHSAA BOD October meeting highlights

COLUMBUS — The Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Directors held their scheduled meeting last Thursday (Oct. 1) — virtually.

The following are highlights from the meeting. Complete meeting minutes will be posted at www.OHSAA.org.

The Board was updated by the OHSAA staff regarding various adjustments to the upcoming fall sports tournaments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the changes are:

* CROSS COUNTRY: The regional and state tournaments will have a two-day format this year to spread out the event. The Division III races will be run on Friday afternoons (regionals on Oct. 30; state on Nov. 6), while the Division II and I races will be run on Saturdays (regionals on Oct. 31; state on Nov. 7). In addition, the current Ohio Department of Health order limits the number of runners in a cross country race to 150, which is less than a typical regional or state championships race. If the OHSAA’s variance request is not approved, each race will be run in two sections. As previously announced, the state championships will be at Fortress Obetz, while the regional sites are posted at: http://ohsaaweb.blob.core.windows.net/files/Sports/Cross%20Country/CCRegionals.pdf

* GOLF: At all levels of the tournament (sectional, district and state), tickets are required for entrance and must be purchased in advance. At most tournaments, there will be a limit of two tickets available for each qualifier. The state tournament venues remain the same, with NorthStar Golf Club in Sunbury hosting the boys Division III state tournament, and The Ohio State University Golf Club in Columbus hosting the Division I and II girls and boys state tournaments. There will be limited ticketing at Ohio State. Golf Genius will be utilized for live scoring, with the link posted on the state tournament coverage page at www.OHSAA.org. There will be no awards presentations on Saturday.

* FOOTBALL: Please see the OHSAA’s release from Oct. 1 at: https://www.ohsaa.org/news-media/articles/ohsaa-announces-football-brackets-and-playoff-information

* SOCCER: The state championships venue has not been finalized. Traditional host MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus may or may not host the games.

* GIRLS TENNIS: The Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason will continue to host the state tournament, as the venue graciously does not charge the OHSAA a rental fee. If inclement weather forces play indoors, the OHSAA will communicate the limited spectator policy.

* VOLLEYBALL: The state tournament venue has not been finalized. Traditional host Wright State University in Dayton may or may not host the event.

* The board approved a recommendation from OHSAA staff to use the current base enrollment data in 2021-22 for a third school year, instead of obtaining new enrollment data this fall from the Ohio Department of Education to start a new two-year cycle next school year. Therefore, a new two-year cycle for enrollment data will begin in 2022-23. The data is used to help determine divisional alignments for tournaments, in addition to school classifications for District Athletic Board elections.

* The board approved a joint proposal from the softball and baseball coaches associations that provides an exception within General Sports Regulation 8 to increase the number of team members permitted to be together to receive individual skill instruction outside of the school season or defined no-contact period. Softball and baseball coaches are now permitted to provide coaching to a maximum of six members of their school team at the same time in all facilities.

* The board approved the 2020-21 OHSAA budget, which includes a projected $1.3 million deficit due to decreased spectators permitted at tournament contests. The OHSAA continues to explore cost saving measures and is working toward reducing that deficit as much as possible in order to continue providing services to member schools, its 26 sanctioned sports, and more than 15,000 contest officials.

* The Board reviewed the list of recent infractions by OHSAA member schools. Since the Board’s last meeting, consequences were issued to 11 schools for violations of OHSAA bylaws or sports regulations. The list of infractions will be included in the complete Board meeting minutes posted at www.OHSAA.org.

* The Board ratified the contract between the OHSAA and Spectrum to serve as the OHSAA’s official television partner for the 2020-21 school year, which will include exclusive live television coverage of selected football and basketball games. Delayed television coverage, and some live video streaming coverage, is permitted for football and basketball games not selected by Spectrum. The board also approved the OHSAA to finalize a contract with the NFHS Network to provide live streaming coverage of selected tournament contests. The OHSAA will also promote the network to member schools for their regular-season contests.

* The board approved the softball and baseball divisional breakdowns for the 2021 spring season. Of note, competitive balance data from the cancelled 2020 season was not used when determining divisional alignments for 2021, and only school enrollment data (EMIS) was used.

* The board approved the 2020-21 OHSAA Media Regulations and tournament broadcast rates. The documents are posted at: https://www.ohsaa.org/news-media