Franklin’s Casey Judy connects for a double during their Division II district championship baseball game against Fenwick on May 24, 2019, at Miamisburg High School in Miamisburg. Franklin won 11-2. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

OHSAA: High school spring sports on hold until at least April

If schools reopen April 6, spring practices can resume that day; winter tourneys still postponed

No school means no high school spring sports until at least April 6. The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced Friday that practices, as things stand now, may resume April 6 and that competition may begin April 11.

Area athletic directors are making plans for league meetings over the next 10 days to figure out an abbreviated schedule. However, they realize any timetable they set is at the mercy of the coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday, Gov. Mike DeWine ordered the closure of all schools at the end of the school day Monday for three weeks. Schools would tentatively reopen April 6.

“We’re hopeful to get the kids on the field sometime this spring,” said Steve Tincher, athletic director at Springfield Shawnee in the Central Buckeye Conference. “We know we have to get back in school first.”

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While Shawnee and most schools would reopen April 6, some schools will not. Wayne is one of several that won’t reopen until April 13 because their spring breaks were scheduled for the week of April 6.

“We are communicating to our coaching staff, to our parents, to our student-athletes that they need to plan on being ready for a normal restart of spring sports on Monday, April 13th,” said Nate Baker, athletic director at Wayne in the Greater Western Ohio Conference. “And then if there are updates those will be communicated as it is a fluid situation.”

Most schools shut down practice Thursday. The teams had been practicing since Feb. 24 in all sports. Leagues will be working to determine if they will have time to play only league games in sports such as baseball and softball, and if holding league track and field meets make sense. The OHSAA said spring postseason tournaments and meets will remain scheduled on their original dates.

“Spring sports are always tough to get all your games in because of weather,” Baker said. “So there may be a situation where we defer to conference events and conference championships over a potential rescheduling of nonconference events. That will be discussed at our meeting.”

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The state tournaments for girls basketball, wrestling and ice hockey, and the regional tournaments for boys basketball remain postponed indefinitely. Jerry Snodgrass, executive director of the OHSAA, wrote in a memo to the schools, “Given the rapidly changing events nationally and statewide, we are assessing the situation daily. It is impossible to make a determination today.”

During this down time, athletes on teams still competing in winter sports tournaments and athletes on spring teams are not allowed to participate or practice with a non-interscholastic team such as an AAU basketball team.

Schools have also been encouraged to cancel out-of-state trips. If refunds can’t be obtained, Snodgrass wrote that the OHSAA has no choice but to permit those trips.

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