OSAA delays fall sports until late-September

Anthony Cruz take a free kick for McNary in a game from last season. Boys soccer is one of the fall sports that will be delayed until at least Sept. 23 (File).

The Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) isn’t ready to drastically alter the fall sports season just yet.

However, on Wednesday July 22, the OSAA executive board elected to push back the first contest date for fall sports from Aug. 27 to Sept. 23.

The first date for fall practice remains at Aug. 17 for cross country, volleyball and soccer.

“We were looking at start dates and wanted to push things back a couple of weeks and give schools a chance to get started and get kids back in class,” OSAA executive director Peter Weber said. “It provides more time for us to figure things out.”

According to Weber, the OSAA is still waiting on more guidance from Gov. Kate Brown’s office, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Oregon Department of Education (ODE) in regards to sports.

Currently, tackle football is considered a full-contact activity under guidelines from Brown and OHA, and is forbidden across the state. There is hasn’t been a date set to review that designation.

If the OSAA decides not to go forward with football this fall, they will look to move it to the spring — possibly along with other fall sports that pose moderate to high infection risks. They have also sought counsel from other states as to how to proceed with the sports season.

“The board is committed to providing football in the upcoming school year, even if it’s not in the fall like normal,” Weber said. “We have been in touch with Washington and California about their plans for the upcoming the prep sports season, and that has helped us attempt to strategize an option that will be best for us.”

California made the decision two weeks ago to delay all athletic activities until December and to only have two seasons (winter and spring) of high school sports instead of three.

Washington, on the other hand, announced that they would divide their activities into four separate seasons, with sports such as cross country, golf and tennis taking place in the fall — golf and tennis are traditionally spring sports.

Fall sports such as football, volleyball and soccer were moved to season three in Washington under this model — which would be played from March to May.

Weber said that the OSAA is considering all of their options and that nothing is off the table at this point.

“We are not naïve. We are planning for every possibility,” Weber said. “We don’t want to make a final decision right now because we want to have flexibility to make the best decision for our student-athletes.

However, Weber is optimistic that the OSAA will be able to provide some sports and activities this fall, even if the sports seasons are abbreviated and modified.

“We believe that we will be able to offer some kinds of fall activities,” Weber said. “The goal remains to try to offer as many fall activities as we can.”

The OSAA will likely have additional guidance in early-August.