High school athletics directors and coaches are preparing multiple gameplans for fall sports, knowing that they might have to call an audible at any time.
The Oregon Schools Activities Association released last week updated policies and guidelines for fall activities, keeping football on the sidelines for now 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.
OSAA officials said Sept. 28 is a drop-dead start date to have a modified regular season this fall that would include a restructured postseason.
Creswell High School athletic director Brandon Standridge said the news 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 delayed their 2020 football season to 2021, while Alabama joins at least nine states in a commitment to start on time, including Florida which plans to begin games 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.
Players are practicing for certain sports already across southern Lane County, informally receiving coaching and adhering to workout and distancing guidelines, coaches said.
New guidance from the state requires face coverings even when exercising indoors.
The OSAA Executive Board is scheduled to meet again Monday, Aug. 3 as it anticipates additional information regarding reopening plans by schools and further school sports and activity guidance from the state.