Fall Sports Season Pushed Back to March

The traditional fall season for high school sports has been postponed to March 2021, the Oregon School Activities Association announced Wednesday, pushing football, soccer and other activities into next spring.

Participation will be at the discretion of local school districts, per directives from the governor’s office, Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Department of Education, the OSAA said.

The board’s decision will provide a framework for maximizing the potential opportunity for student-athletes to participate in three seasons during the 2020-21 school year, as districts across the state and country grapple with the unprecedented challenge brought on by the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

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OSAAtoday OSAA unveils new plan for 2020-21: No contests until January; winter, fall and spring seasons, in order, through late June; football to run from March to May; each sport gets “culminating week” https://t.co/GojyT8gm0A #opreps @OSAASports

“The Board recognized that a one size fits all approach isn’t what’s best for students across the state,” said Peter Weber, OSAA Executive Director Peter Weber. “By waiving policy to allow regional participation this fall, local school districts will have the discretion for participation in those areas that are able to do so safely per state directives.”

The Executive Board took this action following last week’s release of school reopening health metrics by the governor’s office and OHA, which will result in nearly all OSAA member high schools starting in a distance-learning format this fall.

Shifting the season calendar later in the school year will provide additional time for schools to return to a hybrid or on-site learning format, the OSAA noted.

The OSAA’s new calendar creates three distinct seasons from late December to late June with limited overlap between seasons.

Traditional winter activities will take place in January and February, followed by fall activities in March and April, with spring activities occurring in May and June.

Each season will feature an equitable seven-week regular season, with adjusted contest limitations, followed by an OSAA culminating week. Specific plans for culminating week events will be developed in conjunction with member schools in the coming months in alignment with large group gathering guidelines issued by the state.

This fall, student-athletes and coaches may still be permitted to participate in certain OSAA-sanctioned activities that are permitted by directives from the governor’s office, OHA, ODE and their local school districts — including conditioning, practices and even some interscholastic competitions.

The OSAA said it will continue to work with the governor’s office, OHA, and ODE, along with its Sports Medicine Advisory Committee to make future OSAA decisions regarding the 2020-21 school year.

The OSAA recently opted to only delay the start of the fall season by a month, even as neighboring states had already moved activities into next year.

Non-mandatory workouts for football, baseball, softball, cross-country and other activities resumed in Canby last month, under strict guidelines consistent with Clackamas County’s status as a phase 1 county.

Second-year football coach Jimmy Joyce told the Canby Now Podcast he was “actually pretty happy” to hear the news Wednesday.

“We’ve kind of been in limbo for a while, so it’s good to have a firm date of when we’re playing,” he said. “Now we know what to prepare for.”

He was of the mind that the OSAA “did the best they could,” and gave them kudos for figuring out a way to create three distinct seasons, within a shortened time frame, for those student-athletes who participate in multiple sports.

“It’s a mixed bag, honestly,” he admitted. “Obviously we all want a fall season, and I think kids will be happy to know we have something to be working toward. It’s just not going to be at a time we’re normally playing football. You know, I’ve never gone to an (Easter) egg hunt and then a coach’s meeting before.”

And there is a silver lining, he noted. The Canby Cougars, who are to make their debut at the 5A classification this season, were also planning to sport brand-new uniforms.

However, Coach Joyce just found out Wednesday that the new threads won’t be in Canby until October. Thanks to the OSAA’s decision, they’ll have plenty of time.

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