The OHSAA Must Pull The Plug

Dave Mitchell July 29, 2020 0

Over
the past three weeks, three NCAA Division 3 conferences in Ohio, and
eight Division One conferences nationwide have canceled all fall
sports due to the coronvirus. In an unprecedented move, the
Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, Ohio Athletic Conference
and North Coast Athletic Conference have all decided to postpone fall
sports until possibly the spring of 2021.

Whatever
side you come down on in this politically sensitive subject, the
virus has sewn itself into almost every facet of life today.
Whatever we do, the virus is in the forefront. Good or bad, it’s
become a way of life for us in the year 2020.

Because
of this, college conferences are re-examining not only to play, but
how to implement the NCAA “rules of Engagement.” Among
the recommendations put forth:

  • Daily
    self-health checks.
  • The
    appropriate use of face coverings and social distancing during
    training, competition and outside of athletics.
  • Testing
    strategies for all athletics activities, including pre-season,
    regular season and post-season.
  • Testing
    and results within 72 hours of competition in high contact risk
    sports.
  • Member
    schools must adhere to public health standards set by their local
    communities.

Brian
Hainline is the NCAA chief medical officer. Hainline said “Any
recommendation on a pathway toward a safe return to sport will depend
on the national trajectory of COVID-19 spread, the idea of sport
resocialization is predicated on a scenario of reduced or flattened
infection rates.”

Of
course that isn’t happening. Which has led to the disagreement on
what to do with High School sports. If Colleges at the Division One
level, flushed with money, cannot afford the requirements, how can
high schools that are hard pressed right now to even open. All this
without help from the federal government.

Then
Tuesday night the Ohio High School Athletic Association announced the
suspension of fall sports scrimmages in contact sports for 2020.  In
a
communication sent to athletic directors and administrators
,
the
announcement was distributed by Interim Executive Director Bob
Goldring. This includes football, soccer, field hockey and cross
country. Volleyball, for the time being, is not included.

According
to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus
that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to
person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected
person coughs, sneezes or talks, and also may be produced when
yelling, cheering, singing and spitting.  Each
school should develop and implement plans to negate these
possibilities.

That
is where the masks come in. Forget the masks we wear daily to
prevent the spread, but let’s take football for example. You cannot
expect players to wash hands after every play. In the trenches
players deal on a body on body basis. They get grass, mud and sweat
in their face and wipe it off. Obviously sweat and water transfers
from player to player. What would help is a full glass face mask on
the inside of the helmet bars. However even the NFL cannot decide on
providing that to players. And the cost for High school’s would be
incredible.

Meanwhile,
the OHSAA recommends implementation of a daily pre-participation
screening for all student athletes, coaches, athletic trainers and
other school personnel, in consultation with local health department
authorities. This adds to the cost. When testing becomes widely
available, a routine testing program might be considered. Which
costs as much as $100, per player. Then add in the costs of cross
country, volleyball, golf and other sports, now you see the problem.

On
top of that, schools are trying to open safely while the state and
federal government don’t seem to be able to help with finances. The
first responsibility of a school system board of education,
superintendent and administration is to get the schools open and
educate4 the kids. Not sports. Education is the primary concern for
the children. That’s why sports are called extra-curricular.

I
have had kids in the school systems and enjoyed every moment of
watching them play. One, in fact, is a coach at a High School in
Ohio. So this affects him and his teams. However there is just one
thing to do. Because of the cost and problems involved, the OHSAA
has no choice but to postpone all fall sports.

It’s
understandable that seniors will be upset, that all athletes will be
upset. And parents will see their dream of an athletic scholarship
go away. But let’s take a look. According to scholarshipstats.com,
your odds of a football players getting a D-1 scholarship are 39:1,
meaning of all 39 players, only 1 get at least a partial scholarship.
Those players are from larger schools, inside the upper classes of
the OHSAA. That same football player has a 12:1 odds of playing in
any NCAA division. However keep in mind, D-2 only offer up to
$12,500 per year. D-3 and JUCO schools offer nothing to play.

So
the scholarship argument being mute, the exhilaration of success on
the field lives. But is that enough to risk the players health? Or
the family they go home to every night? Or the friends they see
outside the home? Is it worth it? For the time being, No. So it’s
time for the OHSAA to pull the plug on fall sports and hope they can
begin the winter season on January 1, 2021.

David
Mitchell is the co-host of the Ohio Baseball Weekly show, every
Monday nightat 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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