The start of high school sports was pushed back again this week as the state’s Covid-19 outlook continues to worsen.
The Oregon School Activities Association announced Monday it has revised its schedule to begin high school sports competition in March.
Fall sports (football, cross country, soccer and volleyball) — now officially designated as “Season 2” — are set to begin practices Feb. 22 (except football, which will start practices Feb. 8) and begin competition March 1.
Spring sports (baseball, softball, golf, tennis, and track and field), which now fall under Season 3, are scheduled to start practices April 5 and competition on April 12.
And “winter” sports (basketball, swimming and wrestling) — a.k.a. Season 4 — are set to start practices May 10 and competition on May 17.
Seasons will be shortened to six weeks.
“Today’s decision by the Executive Board is another reminder of the impact the pandemic has had on Oregon students and schools,” said OSAA Executive Director Peter Weber.
“While disappointed that we need to adjust our original schedule, we believe that keeping three distinct seasons, albeit in shortened seasons, maintains potential opportunities for all students moving forward.”
Shortly after the announcement Monday, Canby head football coach Jimmy Joyce took to Twitter to praise the OSAA for its work and advocacy on behalf of student-athletes.
“Thank you, OSAA, for your continued advocacy and flexibility when seeking the most equitable schedule for all student-athletes,” Joyce wrote. “[There’s] still work to do, so let’s play our part and #maskup to get back on the field!”
Thank you OSAA for your continued advocacy and flexibility when seeking the most equitable schedule for all student athletes. Still work to do, so let’s play our part and #maskup to get back on the field! #RISE @CanbyAthletics @CanbyCurrent @WCCoachAlliance @OregonRTP @OSAASports https://t.co/6ouMdDLF5w
Season 1, which started in August, was extended through February to allow student-athletes to do in-person training and conditioning without contact. Some areas, if allowed by the governor’s office, OHA and their local school district, even allow competitions in some capacity.
Cross country and soccer, because those are outdoor sports, are expected to go on as planned.
Full-contact sports such as football, basketball, wrestling, cheer and dance remain prohibited right now, per recent guidance by the governor’s office and the Oregon Health Authority. The OSAA cannot waive the restrictions so the ban on full-contact sports will need to be lifted in order to have a football season.
Volleyball, however, because it’s an indoor sport, is allowed only in counties that are not considered “extreme risk,” per the state’s new coronavirus metrics. Clackamas County — like most of the date — falls falls under the “extreme risk” category.
Activities like choir and band have been pushed back to the end of the school year to provide their programs the opportunity to rehearse in person if school district policy allows.
Cheerleading and dance culminating weeks have also been adjusted to allow more time for facilities to open or have weather improve enough to move outdoors.
In August, the OSAA pushed back the start of high school sports because of the continuing spread of Covid-19. Prior to Monday’s announcement, basketball, wrestling and swimming were scheduled to start practices Dec. 28 and competition on Jan. 11.
The OSAA’s revised activities schedule is available here.