OLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Tuesday that he will sign a new Ohio Department of Health order that permits contact sports, including the fall sports of field hockey, soccer and football, to move forward with games against other schools. The Governor confirmed support for Ohio’s coaches to inspire their student-athletes to continue following safety precautions so that all sports can be played.
Field hockey, soccer and football now join the OHSAA’s previously approved fall sports of girls and boys golf, girls tennis, girls volleyball, and girls and boys cross country. With the majority of high schools in Ohio wanting to play sports this fall, the Ohio High School Athletic Association has been working with the Governor’s Office and the Ohio Department of Health toward a new health order that contains modifications from previous orders.
“I hope that the desire to have a season will inspire our young people, our athletes, our student-athletes, 24/7 to be as careful as they can,” said Governor DeWine during his press conference Tuesday. “I hope also that our coaches will use this an opportunity to focus on helping these young people understand what really is at stake. If they are going to be able to play, that they are going to have to do everything they can to keep COVID out of their team.”
“The OHSAA is moving forward because we want kids to have an opportunity to participate, and the Governor’s Office is providing that opportunity and a chance,” said Bob Goldring, OHSAA Interim Executive Director. “So for that we are most appreciative. It’s important to remember that our student-athletes have been practicing and training with others for weeks and even months, and it has gone well. So, we believe they deserve the chance to move forward, and that the high school space is also different than the collegiate space.”
The OHSAA staff has developed sport-specific modifications and recommendations for schools when conducting interscholastic competition. Links to these sport-specific documents were originally included in the July 22 memo when we released the Return to Play Recommendations document. Links to updated sport-specific requirements, modifications and recommendations are posted at: https://ohsaa.org/Home/OHSAA-COVID-19-Correspondence.
Capacity Limitations/Students Dressing for Contests Limitations/Bands Restrictions
Spectator capacity for our events will be limited, with the specific details to be listed in the guidance pieces. As Governor DeWine mentioned today, an emphasis will be on allowing families and loved ones to see students participate. In addition, OHSAA requirements, based on guidance from the Governor’s Office, is for schools to limit the number of players dressing for contests. The limits are 60 in football; 22 in soccer and field hockey, and 15 in volleyball. In addition, the OHSAA, based on guidance from the Governor’s Office, is limiting marching and/or pep bands to performing only at home contests.