HUNTINGTON — The Ohio High School Athletic Association has not canceled spring sports nor winter state and regional championships, but executive director Jerry Snodgrass admitted those options remain.
“It’s a severe virus that, as the governor said, we must go to war with and defeat,” Snodgrass said. “That is why we continue with a postponement of our winter sports and a tentative schedule of our spring sports.”
Snodgrass said he continues to monitor Gov. Mike DeWine’s decisions relating to schools remaining closed and will based his determinations in great part on what the governor says. Wednesday, DeWine said, “it is possible kids will not be back in school this school year. We’re working with schools to help them keep education going so that all kids eligible to graduate are able to graduate.”
Winter sports championships are more likely to be affected, at least in the near future, than are spring sports. Snodgrass said he expects a decision whether to cancel in the next 48 hours.
Availability of venues such as the Schottenstein Center, St. John Arena and Nationwide Arena in Columbus comes into play the later postponements push into the spring. Snodgrass added that either all winter sports championships will be played or none will. Venue issues could come into play for spring sports championships, too, if postponements linger.
Impacted winter sports include boys and girls basketball, wrestling and ice hockey. Fairland’s boys basketball are the only local team affected by the shutdown, as the Dragons reached the Elite Eight, where they are slated to meet Harvest Prep in a Division III regional final for a berth in the state tournament Final Four.
Fairland Athletic Direcor Jeff Gorby said he appreciates the job Snodgrass and the OHSAA have done during an unprecedented situation.
“Fairland is still holding on to hopes that we can finish the 2020 basketball season, but we also understand that we will support the decision of the OHSAA,” Gorby said. “I personally feel for these athletes, especially the seniors. These are memories they’ll never get to experience if their season is canceled. We only get four very short years and to lose a year is extremely difficult.”
Snodgrass also said members schools will be consulted before decisions are made to resume or cancel.
Other topics Snodgrass addressed included:
n The OHSAA is not considering allowing student-athletes an extra year of eligibility.
n The OHSAA will lose between $1.4 and $1.5 million in ticket revenue from winter sports tournaments. The non-profit organization’s total budget is $19 million.
“It it were all about the money, we’d probably go on and have (tournaments) no matter what,” Snodgrass said.