OSSAA Executive Director David Jackson met with the media via a Zoom call this morning to discuss the latest in regard to the upcoming Oklahoma high school sports season.
Obviously, the season is rapidly approaching, and states all over the country have been making their official ruling on if there would be sports here in a little over a month.
Let’s go through the big highlights of what Jackson had to say today, starting with the biggest question of all: Are we even going to play?
Will there be a season?
Jackson said that the intention is to have a season, on time, in the fall.
He mentioned there was certainly a possibility for delays, but the plan for now was to go on time.
Clearly, it is big news to hear that from the OSSAA directly – that they intend to have a season here in the coming months.
They have been discussing all the factors just about every day with other states, medical professionals, and other levels of football to decide how to proceed.
Of course, as has been everything with this pandemic, things are always in flux – but as it stands now there will be a season in 2020.
Spring season? Delay like Texas?
Jackson pretty much kept the door open to every option, which isn’t overly surprising to hear at this point.
That has been a pretty consistent statement both at the high school and college levels so far, despite the beginning of August coming in just a touch over a week from now.
The big killer with high school sports is that so many athletes play multiple sports, so them stacking on top of each other in the spring semester creates obvious issues on that front.
Jackson made it seem as if they would do their best to play condensed seasons as to limit the amount of overlap – but there was no way to not have any at all.
As for delaying the start of the season like what Texas elected to do, he said they aren’t intending to do that now but definitely made it seem like that was completely in play as well.
Will there be fans the games?
Jackson said that is up to each local school on whether or not they want to have fans at their games.
He also said it is up to each school to decide how they want to handle eligibility if the school goes to virtual learning, or if they even want to have sports at all.
But, once postseason play begins, the OSSAA makes the determination on if fans will be allowed at the games – which Jackson said he would hope they would be able to.
Could athletes come in from other states?
Jackson said the way the OSSAA’s eligibility rules are currently written, athletes could not move in from another state and be immediately eligible.
Some states have already canceled their season, New Mexico was a state he referenced directly, so the desire to come to Oklahoma to play a season would make sense.
But, based off of what Jackson said, it seems like it is highly unlikely the OSSAA would allow players to do that at this time.
Is there a drop dead date on determining everything?
Unfortunately, there is not.
Jackson kept the door open to essentially anything, and said that they intend to start everything on time but reserved the right to alter the schedule/plans however they see fit at any step of the way.
So, for people hoping to know for sure if there would be a season prior to the games actually beginning – don’t hold your breath.
This will be an ongoing question throughout the next month as the season approaches.
The main takeaway from this has to simply be that the OSSAA is operating under the assumption that there will be a fall season in 2020, and is mostly leaving it up to the individual schools to determine how they want to handle it.
Jackson said the OSSAA will be providing health and safety guidelines to the schools but that they are just that – guidelines.
The schools can make the adjustments that they deem necessary on a case-by-case basis.
It seems like the general vibe was mostly positive and optimistic in regard to playing a season in 2020, but that it was by no means a foregone conclusion.
This will be a constantly updating situation over the coming weeks, and Jackson said he would be available to the media again in a couple of weeks due to the ever-changing landscape right now.
For now, we really all just have to wait and see how this thing shakes out.
Stay plugged in to 107.7 The Franchise both on the air and on the web for all the latest on Oklahoma High School sports.