It was quite jarring when high school sports in Oklahoma were suddenly halted in mid-March when the COVID-19 pandemic brought a crushing end to essentially every sports entity in the entire country.
Some state tournament basketball games that were already set never happened, and a medley of other spring sports either didn’t have a season at all or had an extremely abbreviated one.
The question over the past couple of months has now been if and when high school sports in Oklahoma will be able to return – most namely if there will be a high school football season in 2020.
Today, the OSSAA proposed a three-phase plan to its board of directors for the slow restart of fall sports with many guidelines relative to safe social-distancing.
Schools were generally not fans of the plan, as after discussion it was only voted on to be enacted through June 9th where it would reevaluated – and it still did not pass, failing by a vote of 7-6 according to Cameron Jourdan of The Oklahoman.
This means the OSSAA will follow the policies and rules that are in place, which will make things like summer camps and clinics are OK. Summer practice is still closed until June 1. It's up to local schools now. #OKPreps https://t.co/JR1C0VmUJC
— Cameron Jourdan (@Cam_Jourdan) May 22, 2020
The proposed plan was as follows:
Phase one would begin on June 1st, where coaches may have in-person interaction with players with certain guidelines.
The teams wouldn’t be able to practice just yet, but would be allowed to come in for strength and conditioning as long as they have had their temperature checked before participating and it comes in under 100.4.
Everything would be sanitized thoroughly every single day and coaches would have to wear masks.
Phase two would then be set to begin on June 29th, where teams would be allowed to begin practices in a light manner – meaning it can last no longer than one hour and football practices have to be non-contact.
Many schools wanted to see this phase be moved up earlier into the month of June, and was a main sticking point to why the plan did not pass.
Then, starting July 15th, cheer, cross country, *baseball, softball, and volleyball would be allowed to have full, unrestricted practices.
Phase three then would start on August 1st, where cheer, cross country, *baseball, softball, and volleyball would be allowed to continue practicing as they were – while all other activities will cease at that point for the time being.
Football can then have full, contact practices beginning on August 10th.
All the meanwhile social distancing guidelines must be followed throughout each phase of the process.
This plan was only for fall sports (hence the lack of a mention of basketball).
Sports can now resume on June 1st with no OSSAA-wide restrictions, meaning it’ll be up to the schools to take precautions and make plans on their own.
Essentially, this summer will be exactly the same as previous years as far as how far the schools are restricted – it is completely on them to alter their schedule and take the proper steps to making activities as safe as possible.
The OSSAA’s board of directors will meet again on June 9th, so there could be another proposed plan at that time theoretically.
This will obviously be something to keep a heavy eye on all throughout the summer as sports begin to return to both Oklahoma and the country as a whole.
*This is for schools that are participating in fall baseball, as this plan is for fall sports only.
Stay plugged into 107.7 The Franchise both on the air and on the web for the all the latest news on Oklahoma High School sports’ attempt to resume activities this summer.