OHSAA Hides Behind Memo to Cancel Tournaments

Dave Mitchell March 26, 2020 0

Throughout
the years the Ohio High School Athletic Association (ie; OHSAA) has
ruled with an iron fist over high school athletics. All the while
making a good buck on the backs of the schools and athletes it
supposedly represents. Today they proved just how uncaring,
unfeeling and, let’s call it as it is, cowardly, they really are.

This
morning the OHSAA announced
it has canceled the remaining winter sports tournaments due to the
impact of the coronavirus outbreak. As
a result, Ohio will not be crowning state champions in hockey,
wrestling and girls’ and boys’ basketball in 2020. Snodgrass also
said that the cancellation of state tournaments would cost the OHSAA
an estimated $1.4-$1.5 million.

“I
cannot put kids at risk for this,” Snodgrass said in the
release.

The
announcement was not unexpected, but the manner in which it took
place was. Unlike any other time the OHSAA has stepped up, today
they cowered behind a memo and news release to the member schools and
media.

OHSAA
executive director Jerry Snodgrass said in a press
conference
 March
19 the OHSAA planned to make a decision on the winter sports
tournaments within the next “24 to 48 hours.” Those 1-2
days turned into a week. Still, the OHSAA monitored the situation
daily.

Snodgrass
looked for any microphone possible when calling the press conference
last week to let people know the Association was “contemplating”
canceling the tourney’s. He sat in front of the media, that he
called together, to announce nothing. At the time it was peculiar
that an official like would gather around people just to announce
nothing.

Today
Snodgrass and the OHSAA went one step further in their strange,
unexplained behavior. Instead of calling for a press conference,
standing before all and announcing the decision, then answering
questions, Snodgrass took the easy way out. He issued a memo to the
schools and a press release. All done, of course, in the name of no
large gatherings and the stay at home edict put in place by Governor
DeWine.

Snodgrass
also conveniently placed in the release the cancellations would cost
the OHSAA “ an estimated $1.4-$1.5 million”. All that statement
did was give the Association a good reason next year to increase
ticket prices, broadcast rights fees, parking, T-Shirts, concessions.
Everything involved will go up in price next year. Count on it.

For
years the OHSAA had ridden the backs of high schools across the
state. They have been mired in lawsuits for years in one form or
another from the LeBron James incident to other smaller cases that
include the open enrollment rule to athletes simply moving into
another district. They have never really took on the recruitment
issue in High School sports, and probably never will because they
know it is un-winable.

Just
recently a lawsuit between Roger Bacon and other GCL Coed schools in
Cincinnati was settled out of court in their “competitive balance”
issue. This is a common occurrence for the OHSAA, and any other
typical entity in this country. Let time go by and try and drain the
plaintiff with longevity in the case, until a settlement is
inevitable.

In
this instance, time was not on the side of the OHSAA. Snodgrass had
no problem taking the hard questions last week, when he knew he had
no answers. Or worse yet, had the answers but didn’t want to divulge
them. That several thousand Senior athletes around the state of Ohio
that worked hard for years to reach the pinnacle, will never be
allowed to achieve what their hard work put them in line for.

That
is not the OHSAA’s fault. The decision was easy and understandable.
And it could have been announced last week. Snodgrass will say the
OHSAA waited until the last possible minute to pull the plug. And
nobody can deny they did that.

However
the timing and method is unquestionably cowardly. Snodgrass could
have called a press conference online and announced the decision,
then took questions and explained, in person, their decision. But as
always, the OHSAA ruled with an iron fist from behind a desk and a
press release.

David Mitchell is the co-host of the Ohio Baseball Weekly show, resuming April 13 at 7. He also has been providing radio play by play for over 25 years of high school and collegiate sports. You can follow or message him on twitter at ohbbcohost

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