MOUNT VERNON — Just as area schools were announcing the postponement of spring sports, the Ohio High School Athletic Association took that decision out of the hands of its member schools in a letter Friday afternoon.
The OHSAA has instituted a no-contact period from Mar. 17-Apr. 5, which includes a mandatory shutdown of all facilities.
“Further, we have implemented indefinitely a no-contact period, which prohibits any coach, paid or volunteer, approved by the Board of Education to provide coaching, instruction or supervising conditioning and physical fitness programs or open gyms to members of a school team in their sports,” the letter from OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass said.
Snodgrass said all out-of-state travel is “highly discouraged” and asked the schools cancel those trips and added that no new trips may be scheduled.
The tentative return-to-school date set by Governor Mike DeWine is April 6 and spring sports will be allowed to begin practices. Scrimmages and/or regular-season games would begin April 11.
“Since the current situation is rapidly changing, any of these may need to be adjusted,” Snodgrass said.
Centerburg announced the postponement of athletic events.
Northmor announced that spring sports would “continue as scheduled” and Mount Vernon announced that a Saturday boys volleyball scrimmage was still on as of Thursday evening.
Prior to the letter’s release Friday afternoon — Fredericktown, Mount Vernon and Northmor announced that all spring athletics were postponed.
“This is certainly unprecedented, but we’re all in the same boat,” Mount Vernon athletic director Justin Sanford said. “(It’s) a range of emotions. I’m certainly disappointed for Colton Spurgeon for one — our one winter-sport athlete that had an opportunity to wrestle in the state wrestling tournament.”
Practices for the spring season began Feb. 24 for baseball, softball and boys and girls lacrosse and Mar. 9 for tennis and boys and girls track and field. Boys and girls lacrosse regular seasons were set to begin Mar. 20. Tennis was scheduled to begin Mar. 27 with baseball, softball and boys and girls track and field set to start the following day.
Tennis tournament seeding is scheduled for Apr. 26 with all other sports scheduled for May 4.
“I keep using the word ‘suspended’ and not ‘canceled’ because my hope is that we will do everything in our power that if there is an all-clear … that we can somewhat salvage a spring season and a postseason if it’s possible,” Sanford said. “I don’t want it to cancel, but a lot is out of our control.”
Sanford added that they’re taking cues from Gov. DeWine.
“When the governor lifts the order and we’re able to get back into the building … is probably when we’re looking at future schedules,” Sanford said.