Following a Wednesday meeting, the Oregon School Activities Association stopped short of completely canceling the high school spring sports season, but if there is a chance to play, it won’t be for very long.
Any sort of a spring sports season would likely last less than a month.
Following the cancellation of basketball state championships at the 4A, 5A and 6A levels in March, the OSAA has not officially cancelled any spring sports championships, although they may have to find other venues if they are played.
The OSAA’s executive board met for an online conference call Wednesday morning, and the only decision made was deciding “not to take any further action regarding the spring sports season.”
The season is suspended through April 28, in line with Gov. Kate Brown’s order to close schools through that date.
OSAA’s executive board will meet again on April 15.
“They are in favor of continuing to align with the governor’s orders,” OSAA executive director Peter Weber said. “If the governor ends up shutting down schools for the rest of the year, with no in-person learning, then we’re going to shut down.”
Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Virginia already have canceled their spring sports seasons.
The executive board discussed parameters for a possible truncated season, such as limiting the number of contests in a week by activity.
“We’re all still working through what the specifics and details would be on that, so you don’t have a baseball team trying to play eight games in a week, or something like that,” Weber said.
The board also approved guidelines proposed by Dr. Michael Koester, chair of the OSAA sports medicine advisory committee. A seven day, practice-only period would be instated before games and contests could begin. During that period, practices would be limited to one per day, no more than three hours in length.
To limit loss of class time, schools would emphasize weekend contests or late-afternoon starts.
Astoria girls golf coach Chris Hunt said, “We’re hoping to have at least a truncated season, but who knows?”
Currently, he said, “the girls have access to the golf course and range on their own.”
Some coaches have suggested extending the season into June, but the OSAA said the possibility of extending the school year would have financial implications. Districts have been paying teachers during the shutdown and would have to compensate them for work beyond their contracts.
“If they extend the school year, then it’s going to come at a cost,” Weber said.
Should the season begin, the OSAA would need a new venue for the 3A, 2A and 1A track state championships. Western Oregon University, scheduled to host the meets May 28 and May 29, has closed its facility through the end of June.