Sports Zone

Still a chance for football; other sports’ openers pushed to Sept. 23

The Oregon Schools Activities Association released on Wednesday evening its updated policies and guidelines for fall activities, keeping football on the sidelines and delaying the start to other sports.

“Football is considered a full-contact activity per the Governor’s and OHA guidelines and is currently prohibited. No definitive date has been established by the state for a review of this prohibition,” a statement read.

Based on strategies provided by the OSAA Football Contingency Group it is necessary that any football restrictions be lifted by Sept. 28 in order to have a modified regular season this fall that would include some type of restructured postseason.

Creswell High School athletic director Brandon Standridge said the update was “a little better than I anticipated.”

“It could have been worse and football isn’t completely dead yet. We’re cautiously optimistic about the fall,” he said.

He said school officials are watching other states, particularly Washington and California, which have completely remade sports calendars. “It looks like OSAA is trying to keep us closer to a familiar sports schedule, with a fall season that is probably condensed.”

Four states plus Washington, D.C. have now delayed their 2020 football season to 2021, while Alabama joins at least nine states in a commitment to start on time, including Florida which Monday voted 10-5 to begin games on Aug. 20, according to MaxPreps.

“It’s a difficult situation; we’d love to play. We want to keep everyone safe. If it can happen in the fall great, if not, then hopefully it can still happen in the spring,” Bulldogs head coach Scott Worsham said.

The OSAA Executive Board decided to delay the first contest date for cross country, volleyball and soccer until Wednesday, Sept. 23. It was previously scheduled for Aug. 27). The original first fall practice date of Aug. 17 remains in place at this time.

New guidance from the state requires face coverings even when exercising indoors.

The statement went on: 

“These dates allow for local school control regarding Fall practice schedules while enabling them to focus on their primary objective of reopening to students. Decisions schools are making regarding their instructional models – on‐site, hybrid or distance learning – are still being discussed locally. The dates referenced above, and an individual school’s ability to participate, may be impacted by their instructional model, along with any new health metrics set forth by the Governor’s Office and OHA. Additional guidance for Fall contest protocols, including multi‐team events, spectator policies, and regional scheduling considerations, will be forthcoming. The OSAA Executive Board understands that if fall end dates are not extended then contest limitations, playoff structures, and championship events will need to be altered.

If fall activities aren’t able to be held in the fall, the OSAA Executive Board stated it would work with its contingency groups to exhaust all options for these activities including shifting, condensing, or stacking seasons, like associations have in Washington and California. “These changes may ultimately force schools into choosing which programs they will offer and students into choosing between activities, but the board believes that a potentially difficult choice is better than no choice,” officials said.

Like football, cheerleading and dance/drill are considered full contact activities per the Governor’s and OHA guidelines and are currently prohibited. No date has been set by the state for a review of this prohibition; however, the OSAA is exploring modifications to these activities that would allow them to take place. “The OSAA staff and activities contingency groups are also working to develop best practices for rehearsals and considerations for competitive seasons that would include modifications to choreography, stunting/lifting, etc. Music and Speech & Debate Contingency Groups will begin meeting in late July/early August focusing on competition elements and considerations for the coming year,” the statement said.

Band, orchestra and choir resources should still follow guidance from the NFHS for ways to return to in‐person instruction safely. The OSAA has more information on its website,

As for cheerleading, dance & drill, music, speech & debate, the “OSAA Executive Board adopted two recommendations. Both recommendations surround student safety and the deconditioning of students during the pandemic. The first change prohibits multiple practice sessions on the same day for the 2020‐21 school year. No single practice session shall be longer than three hours, including warm‐up and cool down. On days with a single practice session, students are limited to a maximum of one hour of weight training either before or after practice but not both.

“The second change mandates a minimum of nine practice days for any student participating in a fall sport or activity. This unifies fall sports and activities and provides students time to acclimatize before participation versus another school. As winter and spring seasons approach, the board will determine if this same mandate is necessary.”

The board also addressed academic eligibility in its release. 

“The OSAA staff shared language from ODE about student academic eligibility in relation to the Spring 2020 transcripted grading period. In alignment with ODE’s Safeguarding Student Opportunity Clause, the OSAA Executive Board is amending the academic waiver process for the 2020‐21 school year. Schools will be able to use transcripted grades from the grading period prior to the COVID‐19 showdown to determine eligibility for students that are academically ineligible based on incompletes from the final grading period of 2019‐20. These students will not be denied access to school sports and activities provided that the student was eligible entering the final grading period of 2019‐20, the school has a Credit‐Earning Assurance Plan in place for that student and the student maintains eligibility in the current grading period based on progress reports.”

The board stated that it instructed staff to be flexible in working with schools to determine full‐time enrollment for the purpose of participation in the 2020‐21 school year.

Lastly, the state’s high school activities association addressed the potential of additional eligibility. 

“The OSAA staff has received several inquiries about students wanting to take a year off school and then returning in the Fall of 2021. The OSAA Executive Board continues to support current OSAA policy allowing students eight consecutive semesters to participate with no additional eligibility being granted.”

The OSAA Executive Board is scheduled to meet again Aug. 3 as they anticipate additional information regarding reopening plans by schools and further school sports and activity guidance from the state.




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