Following the same approach it took with Season 2, the OSAA has opted to return the culminating weeks for upcoming Season 3 back to the schools.
In a work session Wednesday, the executive board decided that returning the sixth and final week to the schools will give them the flexibility to coordinate local and regional events, allowing them to maximize participation.
OSAA executive director Peter Weber said it was an especially difficult decision to make for spring sports, which were canceled in 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis.
“The board wanted to provide those opportunities, but in looking at the situation where schools are having the ability to make that choice at the local level, and having that discretion, ended up making the most sense,” Weber said. “It will provide as much opportunity in a shortened season as possible, not only for varsity programs, but other levels within a program as well.”
The first contests for baseball, softball, track and field, tennis and golf are scheduled for April 12. The culminating week is May 17-23.
Weber said that Season 2 has shed light on the various challenges that schools and districts are facing with travel and transportation restrictions and health issues.
“Some have been able to play fuller schedules than others, and some programs have had to be shut down because of COVID exposure,” Weber said. “The board had concerns around the feasibility and logistics of trying to have fair and equitable qualifying procedures for these events given the disparities around the state.”
The OSAA has not made a decision on Season 4 culminating weeks. The first contests for basketball, wrestling and swimming are scheduled for May 17 with the culminating week June 21-26.
Under current state guidance, basketball and wrestling are prohibited indoors.
“That will need to change in order for those to go,” Weber said.