PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The ongoing pandemic has once again forced an adjustment to Oregon’s high school sports calendar.
OSAA officials said this is because the risk for COVID-19 has not gone down to safe levels in time to warrant bringing sports back.
Fall sports will now start in February and traditional spring activities won’t begin until April. Winter sports will run in May and June. The 3 seasons are condensed to 6 weeks each. It includes a culminating week or an option for a postseason competition.
Football practices will begin February 8 with first games scheduled for March 1. Cross country and soccer can begin February 22 because of its outdoor nature.
Central Catholic High School football coach Steve Pyne said, “We are hopeful on February 8 that we will be able to play.”
Student athletes are eager to get back out on the field and on the court. But during the coronavirus pandemic everyone’s plans changed.
“I think everyone should take precautions with COVID-19 going around,” said student athlete Myles Broadous. “But it would have a great impact to miss your senior year playing football because for a lot of guys they won’t get another chance to see the field.”
Administrators are also anxious to have the competitions begin.
“Certainly football, basketball and wrestling are still prohibited by the state so we would need to have some things change in order to do that,” OSAA Executive Director Peter Weber told KOIN 6 News. “We are hopeful, optimistic but we are going to see what happens.”
Weber said after looking at options, they adopted the 3-season approach which has “shortened seasons but still provides three distinct opportunities starting with our fall sports February 22 and our spring sports and finishing with our winter sports.”
He said one of the reasons they pushed out to Feburary 22 is to provide more opportunity and time to get through the holidays.
Their sports medicine advisory advised against moving football to May or June because there would begin to be “implications for next fall and what that could look like just because of the contact sport and the quick turnaround and where they are at as a medical committee.”
Weber said the OSAA is trying to work within the parameters to provide an opportunity for student athletes.
“We believe this plan provides a pathway to have kids participate later in the year,” Weber said. “We know the seasons are shortened. It’s not ideal but if we can have some seasons, which we believe we will be able to have, we are excited to get kids out there playing.”
As with almost everyone, the hope that a vaccine brings is also a consideration.
“Hopefully case counts are down in January,” he said. “Who knows what the rollout of a vaccine and what that looks like, but to provide that opportunity also to get kids back into the classroom.”
And he wants the student athletes to know this:
“We want them to get out there and play, too. We’ve extended our Season 1 that we are in currently to allow workouts and training and those activities permitted by the governors office and the Oregon Health Authority in the areas of the state that can do that.”