By TED TAYLOR
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
The high school football season is on hold across Oregon and the start date has been delayed for cross country, volleyball and soccer.
The Oregon School Activities Association made the announcement Wednesday afternoon in a letter to athletic directors, principals and superintendents.
Fall practices can still begin on August 17th, but the first contest date for all sports but football has been pushed from August 27th to September 23rd.
“These dates allow for local school control regarding fall practice schedules while enabling them to focus on their primary objective of reopening to students,” OSAA Executive Director Peter Weber said in the email. “The OSAA Executive Board understands that if fall end dates are not extended then contest limitations, playoff structures, and championship events will need to be altered.”
Weber told the group that new guidance from the state requiring face coverings even when exercising indoors “will require further consideration regarding guidance for indoor activities.”
Full-contact activities are currently prohibited under guidelines from the governor and Oregon Health Authority, which puts the football season on hold indefinitely.
“No definitive date has been established by the state for a review of this prohibition,” Weber said. “Based on strategies provided by the OSAA Football Contingency Group it is necessary that any Football restrictions be lifted by September 28 in order to have a modified regular season this Fall that would include some type of restructured postseason.”
Cheerleading and dance/drill team seasons are also on hold because they’re considered full contact activities.
Music and Speech & Debate contingency groups will start meeting later this month or early in August to discuss competition elements and considerations for the coming year, Weber said.
“During the past few weeks and months we’ve received countless emails advocating for the safe return of school sports and activities,” Weber told the school leaders. “The OSAA Executive Board and staff share the passion and desire expressed by this communication and have been advocating with the Governor’s Office accordingly.”
Weber said if fall activities aren’t able to be held in the fall, the OSAA executive board will work on a contingency plan and examine all options “including shifting, condensing, or stacking seasons, like our neighbors in Washington and California, with the fundamental objective of providing participation opportunities for students.”
“These changes may ultimately force schools into choosing which programs they will offer and students into choosing between activities, but the Board believes that a potentially difficult choice is better than no choice,” Weber said.