OHSAA announces cancellation of winter sports championships

Beloit West Branch and Dayton Carroll pose for a group photo outside St. John Arena after their Division II state semifinal game at St. John Arena in Columbus was postponed. Eric Frantz/CONTRIBUTED
Beloit West Branch and Dayton Carroll pose for a group photo outside St. John Arena after their Division II state semifinal game at St. John Arena in Columbus was postponed. Eric Frantz/CONTRIBUTED

Spring sports remain indefinitely postponed

The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced the cancellation of all winter sports championships Thursday, ending the seasons of numerous athletes holding out hope of still competing in the boys and girls basketball, wrestling and ice hockey state tournaments.

According to an OHSAA press release, “It is anticipated that schools will not be able to reopen for many weeks, which prevents interscholastic athletics from taking place.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.”

Schools were informed of the OHSAA’s decision Thursday morning.

“We are just devastated that the tournaments cannot be completed,” said OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass said. “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 campuses 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.”

Except for a few events during World War II (1941-45), this the first time since the OHSAA was founded in 1907 that championships have been cancelled.

The OHSAA provided its last update March 19, announcing the winter sports championships remained indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis.

At that time, Snodgrass said, “We will be making a decision on the winter sports probably within the next 24-48 hours,” he said. “We have to. I think it’s imperative. We can not procrastinate. I don’t want to lead people on and give them false hope.”