There is still a chance for spring sports in Oregon high schools — as long as students go back to school.
The Oregon School Activities Association's Executive Board decided during an online meeting Wednesday to maintain the current suspension of spring sports through April 28, in keeping with Governor Kate Brown's school closure order due to the coronavirus.
“The Board decided to continue its current suspension of Spring activities but chose not to cancel any other remaining state championships at this time,” read a memo from OSAA Executive Director Peter Weber that was sent to member schools across the state.
The memo went on to note that if schools move to a distance learning approach for the remainder of the year then the spring sports season will be canceled and that the board does not support extending spring sports into the summer.
“If the Governor orders that in‐person student learning is shut down for the remainder of this school year, the OSAA will continue to align with the school closures and also cancel its Spring activities and state championships,” Weber wrote.
On Monday afternoon the Oregon Department of Education issued a memo that stated “…we also foresee the strong possibility that our students may not come back through our school house doors this academic ear. This calls for a shift from providing supplementary education to a formidable effort to provide Distance Learning for All.”
If the spring sports season did return this year, the OSAA also put forth a series of guidelines to “emphasize student safety.” Included in this list was that when students returned there would be a seven-day period with no games. The first possible day of games would be May 6.
Games would be pushed later in the day and weekend games would be encouraged to ensure more time in the classroom and there would be a limit on the number of contests played each week.
Last week a petition was put up online for the OSAA to push the spring sports season into the summer.
“We would like the OSAA to extend the Spring Seasons into the Summer. We would like to see school teams get close to a full seasons if at all possible,” read part of the petition which, as of Wednesday afternoon, has amassed over 17,000 online signatures.
The OSAA seemingly responded to this in its memo on Wednesday.
“Board members discussed the potential of shifting Spring activities and state championships into the summer and are not supportive of that concept at this time,” the statement said. “Concerns included increased staffing and personnel costs for school districts already facing uncertain financial impacts, scheduling issues regarding facility availability, plus student/family commitments for jobs, travel, etc.”
If OSAA is able to hold its spring championships, it will need a new location for the Class 3A-2A-1A track and field championships, since Western Oregon University has shut down its athletic facilities through June 30.
OSAA staff members are conducting other potential venues to determine interest and availability, Weber wrote.
The Executive Board will meet online again on April 15 to further consider spring sports.