COLUMBUS — Ohio High School Athletic Association Director Jerry Snodgrass held a press conference Thursday afternoon to reiterate the postponements of the winter sports tournaments and the delay to the start of the spring sports seasons.
“Most importantly, we are in the education business,” said Snodgrass. “Sports are an extension of the classroom, they are not the classroom. Sometimes people put high school sports on a pedestal.
“The decision by Gov. (Mike) DeWine to close classrooms was not taken lightly and my decision to postpone tournaments was not taken lightly either. The governor stated it (COVID-19) is here and we must be at war with it. We have to decide how to fight that war.”
Snodgrass stated none of the decisions made by the OHSAA have been made on emotion, but based on fighting the “war” on the coronavirus.
He then added the postponements of the winter sports tournaments — girls and boys basketball, ice hockey and wrestling — will continue with the hope of playing when school resumes.
Snodgrass also said the plan for spring sports, which was for practices to resume April 6 and games to start April 11, was also staying in place.
However, the OHSAA director added these plans could change on a moment’s notice, especially if Gov. DeWine were to continue to keep schools closed beyond the three-week hiatus currently in place or if he were to close the schools for the rest of the school year.
Even if schools were to open on April 6, as currently scheduled, Snodgrass admitted there are obstacles facing the playing of the winter sports tournaments, especially wrestling.
“Wrestling right now has 621 wrestlers from 300 schools participating at the state meet,” said Snodgrass. “That sport is a little different with the number of weight classes. There are huge weight-management issues.”
He also said availability of sites, officials, players and coaches will play a part in when and where the winter sports could take place. That didn’t even take in to account what fans, if any, would be permitted to attend the events.
Snodgrass said a decision on the winter sports tournaments could take place in the next 48 hours. Spring sports would not be determined as quickly.
“We want to consult with our member schools first before making any decision to any cancellations or postponements,” said Snodgrass.
He did say the OHSAA, as a body, was looking at several possible scenarios to give winter sports teams that were still in tournaments some kind of “state experience.”
“I have challenged our staff to look at every possible opportunity,” said Snodgrass. “I told them to not let our regulations on by-laws box us into what we can or cannot do.”