By Del Duduit | Local Happenings
For now, the plan is for high school fall sports to begin official workouts on August 1st. Many area coaches and athletic directors are optimistic it will happen.
Some have told me they are planning for the season to start on time and will be open to any
options to make the season a reality. The Ohio High School Athletic Association is ready as well.
Bob Goldring, the interim executive director, is steadfast that the schedule to begin official
practices will happen, and he added, on time.
Goldring, who took over after the OHSAA Board of Directors fired former executive director
Jerry Snodgrass spoke with Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted this week and addressed the issue of going ahead with high school sports this fall as planned.
"Our priority is to start our seasons on time," Goldring said in a teleconference with reporters last week, "Would we consider other options? I think it would be naïve for us to say no. But the tone is what we need to hear. Determination. Commitment. Resolve."
The only thing left is the go-ahead from the governor’s office to allow contact competition
between schools this fall. Wheelersburg head football coach Rob Woodward told me a few weeks ago that he will prepare the Pirates for their upcoming season the best he can until he’s told otherwise.
Jesse Ruby, Minford High School head football coach, said the same thing. “Until we are told there is not going to be a season, we are getting ready the best we can,” he said.
The coronavirus shut down spring sports and there is a lingering threat it might impact the fall
season. Every coach and player wants to play. They are not selfish. They are not afraid. They see the need to get back to normal.
There are so many different opinions, and that invites frustration. College football is in serious jeopardy. Several power-house football conferences, which includes the Big Ten, have already said they will have a shortened season.
And some college conferences have already put the kibosh on fall sports. Legendary football coach Lou Holtz said last week on Fox News that “I don’t believe there will be football this year.”
But he wants it to happen. He said the kids need it for stability and for their own personal
well-being. I agree. That is why Goldring’s announcement was crucial.
The message sends hope and encouragement to the athletes to prepare. His confidence is what
everyone in Ohio needs to hear. One local volleyball player told me that she will “just cry” if fall sports is spiked by fear of the coronavirus.
The players will even concede to fans being in the stands, just to get on the field.
“I just want to play. That’s all,” another athlete told me.
That’s how important it is to them. But Goldring added there might be difficult decisions to make soon and stressed they have not yet come to any concrete conclusion. "If there's going to be delays in the season, if there's going to be postponements to the season or only non-contact sports are permitted during the fall, then we have to pivot and look at our options moving forward," Goldring said in the teleconference. "We're looking to start our practices on Aug. 1 and our seasons to follow." But the overall decisions whether to have fall sports and Friday Night Lights will come down to the local school boards and superintendents.
If the state government clears high school sports to be played, then OHSAA intends to sanction
them. “We really feel that it’s the schools’ decision whether they will have sports or not,” Goldring added.
“We don’t think it’s the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s place to say yay or nay to sports.”
The kids and players want it. The coaches want it. The community wants it. Let’s be safe, and let’s play ball.
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife,
Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his
Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.