When Oregon Gov. Kate Brown made the decision on Wednesday, April 8 to close schools due to the coronavirus, the OSAA decided that it was best if they followed suit.
Just hours after Brown’s announcement, the OSAA elected to cancel the spring sports season for 2020.
“Today’s heart wrenching decision is difficult for all members of the OSAA family,” said Peter Weber, OSAA Executive Director. “We empathize with students and school communities, especially our graduating seniors, but recognize that these cancellations will allow our collective focus to remain where it’s most needed at this time – on the health and safety of all Oregonians.”
On March 18, the OSAA suspended the spring sports season initially until April 28. After the executive board held a virtual meeting on April 1, Weber was expecting the OSAA to have a decision on whether the season would be canceled, or if the OSAA would attempt to provide an abbreviated season, at the board’s next meeting on April 15.
But when Brown made the announcement, Weber was prepared to act quickly.
“We weren’t caught off-guard. We knew this was likely coming,” Weber said. “We had made the decision that we were going to be aligned with the schools if (Brown) came out and shut things down before (the 15th), so we wouldn’t have to worry about getting everyone on the board back together.”
Current OSAA policies prohibit the use of school facilities. The policy also prevents coaches from organizing or directing workouts and practices, which will remain in effect until further notice.
The executive board will meet in the coming weeks to discuss policies for summer activities, along with academic eligibility concerns for fall 2020 that have been expressed by member schools and families.
During a typical summer, member schools will hold athletic events, such as summer league baseball or passing league football. These are not considered OSAA sanctioned events as they are organized by individual coaches and schools.
However, Weber noted that, due to the circumstances, that the OSAA could be more involved with summer sports this year.
“Typically, we won’t have a ton of involvement. But we will be discussing increasing our involvement and taking the lead on what schools should do and what is safe. We want to keep everyone on a level playing field,” Weber said.
More information will be communicated via http://www.osaa.org/ as it becomes available.
Weber encourages people not to be distraught about the loss of the spring season, but to instead be thankful for the many tools that prep sports have provided to all student-athletes across the state.
“Everyone is disappointed. Sports are a big part of people’s lives. People cried when they got the news. But all the skills and traits that kids learned over the course of their high school careers will last forever as they move forward with their lives. We need to always remember that,” Weber said. “Now more than ever we need to apply the lessons learned through participation in education-based activities – teamwork, sacrifice, resilience – and play our role in adhering to the public health guidelines. We all look forward to the day when we play again.”