OSAA not ready to give up on spring sports

Luke Skipper is expected to be the top tennis player for the McNary boys program if there is a spring season (File).

The OSAA is still holding out hope for being able to establish some semblance of a spring sports season. 

On Wednesday, March 18, the OSAA announced that it would extend the suspension of the spring sports season to April 28 after Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced the day prior that all schools would be closed due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

“It’s unlike anything we have ever seen,” said Peter Weber, who has been the executive director for the OSAA for more than two decades. “We’re just all trying to make the best decision possible and work with medical experts on what our next move should be.”

The OSAA Executive Board will meet via conference call on April 1 and April 15 to discuss if the spring season should be canceled, or if competition will return in May.

However, many of their decisions might be predicated on what happens if the schools will re-open on the scheduled day.

“Because we are so tied to the schools, we wanted to align ourselves with them. That’s one of the reasons we haven’t canceled yet,” Weber said.

Last week, the OSAA staff discussed what the options were for each sport in the likely chance that teams would have to compete in a shortened season — if there is a season at all.

If the school year ends up getting extended to late-June, it could have an impact on if the OSAA decides to have a spring season.

“Certainly, we would take that into consideration,” Weber said. “To be honest, we also talked about, if the kids are out of school for all this period of time, and they come back, and the first thing they do is get out of school to go to these activities and sports, it’s kind of in the back of our minds that there needs to be a balance there.”

While the OSAA is still waiting to make a decision on whether or not there will be a spring sports season, they have already made the decision to cancel the speech and solo music state championships — speech was scheduled for April 23-25 and solo music was scheduled for May 2. 

“We just ran into a lot of issues with the timing,” Weber said. 

The state championships for band, choir and orchestra have not been canceled, but the OSAA board will likely have a discussion about those events on April 1.

If there is a track and field season, the OSAA has elected not to hold the state meet at Hayward Field in Eugene. The 6A, 5A and 4A meets will be held at Mount Hood Community College on May 29-30, while 3A, 2A and 1A meets will be held on the same days at Western Oregon University.

The NCAA has canceled all intercollegiate spring sports for 2020 and many states across the country have done the same for their high school sports. But Weber, and the rest of the OSAA staff, want to do their best to provide spring sports all across the state if possible.

It may be bleak for the time being, but Weber will be proceeding with cautious optimism.

“We still have a level of hope, but we are also realistic and we don’t want to string people along,” Weber said. “We know how important sports are for our kids and our community, so we’re going to explore all options the best that we can.”