OHSAA director: No strict deadline for decisions on fall sports

Ohio High School Athletic Association executive director Jerry Snodgrass said decisions on fall sports remain fluid.

The Blade
Fri, 22 May 2020 16:04:45 GMT

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COLUMBUS — Ohio High School Athletic Association executive director Jerry Snodgrass on Friday morning said decisions for fall sports are fluid situations.

Snodgrass was interviewed on The Ken Carman Show with Anthony Lima on 92.3 FM in Cleveland. In that interview, Snodgrass said there is no specific date on which decisions for fall will be made, but Thursday’s announcement that training for all sports can start later this month certainly helped.

“The timetable we internally have set isn’t one for an all-or-not,” Snodgrass said. “There’s not a date set on July 8 — and I’m just making that up — but on July 8 that if nothing changes then we will not be able to have fall sports or football. What we have done is say, ‘OK, if we run into these certain dates, then we will have to adjust what we do,’ and we’ve been working on all kinds of adjustment plans.”

“... Right now, the chance we do have for physical training is key to us opening up the fall. If we didn’t have that opportunity, and that opportunity went into July, we then were starting to talk about, ‘OK, do we have to adjust the start of the season?’ And we have plans for that. So rather than drop dead say if we don’t have this by this date we have to cancel, we’re trying to work with the fluidity of it.”

Snodgrass added students do not have be permitted to attend class in school for fall sports to start.

“There were a lot of rumors about that going back to the spring, as to we canceled spring sports because kids were not sitting in the classrooms,” Snodgrass said. “That had absolutely nothing to do with it, and nor does it going into the fall.

“... I don’t think kids will be sitting in the classroom five days a week. That does not necessarily have any bearing whatsoever on whether we have fall sports or not. We can make that work with the cooperation of the schools.”

The radio interview took place a day after Snodgrass spoke for more than 30 minutes as a guest on the Greater Columbus Sports Commission’s Virtual Sports Report. He addressed several questions about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and plans for school sports.

The most burning question: Will there be a football season?

"It's going to depend on the next couple of weeks," Snodgrass said Thursday. "And I'm an eternal optimist. And I do believe — if you were to ask me right now — I do believe that we will go forward in a normal routine with football with some safeguards. But with attendance and so on and so on. That's the eternal optimist in me. But I have to stress that we're prepared if we can't."

On Thursday afternoon, the Ohio governor's office announced training for all high school athletics can begin May 26 at school facilities, a ray of hope for fall sports to occur on schedule.

"Friday night football for communities brings people together," Snodgrass said. "The people want it back. So how confident are we or am I? I would tell you the next couple of weeks are really going to answer that. For me because I think personally — and it's an opinion — but what happens in the next couple of weeks as we reopen Ohio responsibly — and I stress that, responsible — is really going to determine what happens in the fall."

Snodgrass addressed football revenue for schools, many of which depend heavily on regular-season football ticket sales.

“Without that revenue, and with cutbacks coming to the schools themselves next year through the state budget, it could be very, very challenging,” said Snodgrass. “With no fans in the stands, that’s a huge revenue loss and concern. But I’m an eternal optimist, and if you were to ask me right now, I do believe we will go forward in a normal routine with football ― with some safeguards.”

Snodgrass was asked about the idea of switching spring sports to the fall and fall sports to the spring, thus upping the chances of football season happening. In that scenario, however, sports moved to the fall could be canceled instead.

“We’ve already canceled spring sports once this year,” he said. “Why would we [switch seasons] to cancel them again? I can’t do that to the kids.”