By Josh Brown
and Rob Kiser
Miami Valley Today
Over the weekend, the Ohio High School Athletic Association reiterated its plan to cancel the spring sports season if Ohio Governor Mike DeWine kept the state’s schools closed for the remaining part of the school year.
Monday, that day came to pass.
DeWine announced that Ohio’s schools would remain closed for the rest of the 2019-20 school year during his press conference on Monday, with students continuing remote learning during that time. But that announcement also means that the entire spring sports season, which has been postponed since March, will not take place for the first time in OHSAA history.
In a memo sent to member schools on Saturday, OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass said regarding the plan to reopen the country and state in phases, “it was stated that ‘schools that are currently closed should remain closed.’ When this is confirmed by Governor DeWine and/or State Supt. of Schools (Paolo) DeMaria, we will be confirming the cancellation of spring sports as we have previously indicated.”
That confirmation came quickly.
“For the remainder of this school year, our young people will continue to go to school remotely,” DeWine said Monday. “We’ve flattened the curve, but the virus remains. Also, to go back to school now with a relatively small amount of time left, many educators have expressed to me that this wouldn’t be a good idea even if the health situation was resolved.”
Early Monday evening, the area’s athletic directors received an email from the OHSAA making the season’s cancellation official.
“As we have stated in our previous communications, today’s announcement by Governor DeWine to close schools for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year also will now result in the cancellation of OHSAA-sponsored spring sports seasons, including tournaments,” the email said.
Troy Athletic Director Dave Palmer reacted to Monday’s announcements.
“We’re disappointed, but we obviously understand,” he said. “We have to follow the guidelines set forth by the governor and health officials. We just wish the circumstances could have been different.
“I feel bad for all of our spring athletes and coaches, especially the seniors and everything they have to give up this spring. We still appreciate them for everything they’ve contributed to the school and the athletic department. Even though we’ve been separated this spring, we’ll be forever united as the Trojan family.”
Piqua Athletic Director Chip Hare was also thinking of the seniors.
“That was my first thought, I feel for the seniors and their parents that their not going to get that closure to their senior years,” Hare said. “Not just with baseball, softball track and tennis, but with honor programs, graduation, things like that.
“We were all hoping it wouldn’t come to this, but I think it was evident in the governors last couple press conferences what was going to happen. It became clear it would be too dangerous. One of the big things was crowd control. We host district and sometimes regional track meets and baseball tournament games, and that (crowd control) was one of the things the Governor and the OHSAA were concerned about.”
Ohio’s schools have been closed since March 13 as part of the state’s efforts to slow the spread of the global pandemic caused by the coronavirus, COVID-19. The OHSAA’s winter sports tournaments were also cancelled, the first such cancellations for the OHSAA since World War II in the 1940s.
In Saturday’s memo, the OHSAA also announced the cancellation of this year’s junior high track and field state championships, which were to be held on May 16, as well as the OHSAA Scholar Athlete Program for the 2019-20 school year.
Schools were scheduled to reopen on May 4, with the spring sports regular season beginning on May 9 and running until the end of June and early July. Spring sports includes baseball, softball, track and field, lacrosse and boys tennis.
©2020 Miami Valley Today, all rights reserved.