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No fall sports: New activities calendar starts Dec. 28

James DayBy James Day

The Oregon School Activities Association has updated its plans for the 2020-21 school year. The upshot? The official calendar starts Dec. 28, with practices and features much shorter seasons. And football and other “fall” sports are moving to the spring.

The decision of the OSAA’s executive board, announced Aug. 5, supersedes a previous outline, released July 22, that called for a delayed fall opening with football still in the autumn mix.

Here is how the calendar looks at this point:

Season 2 (I will get to Season 1 below) includes swimming, wrestling and basketball, with practices starting Dec. 28 and games Jan. 11. Possible state playoffs, currently labeled as “OSAA culminating week” could take place March 1-7. Swimming would be limited to eight meets, wrestling to nine events and basketball to 14 games. Virtually all competition is likely to come against league opponents.

Season 3 features the usual fall sports of football, cross country, volleyball and soccer. Practice would start Feb. 22, games March 8 (except football, which would open play March 15) and the OSAA culminating week would begin May 3 for football and April 26 for the other sports. Contest reductions also would be in play, with nine meets for cross country, 14 playing dates for volleyball, 10 soccer matches and seven football games.

Season 4 includes the usual spring sports of baseball, softball, track and field, golf and tennis. Practices can begin April 19, with first contests set for May 3. The OSAA culminating week would be June 21 through June 26, almost a month later than most activities under the “normal” OSAA calendar. Golfers would be limited to 14 9-hole rounds, tennis teams could schedule 12 playing dates, track and field squads can have nine meets and baseball and softball squads can play 18 games.

Other OSAA sanctioned activities such as cheerleading, dance and drill, speech, solo music, choir, band and orchestra, all are approved to practice Aug. 31, with OSAA culminating weeks starting in March and running through mid-May.

The OSAA also has tacked on kind of a free-form Season 1, starting Aug. 31, in which schools and teams could engage in practices and regional competition as long as all of the state orders related to the coronavirus are followed. Football and other “full-contact” activities are out of luck here.

“(The) decisions by the executive board provide a framework to maximize the potential opportunity for students in Oregon to participate in three seasons during the 2020-21 school year,” wrote Peter Weber, OSAA executive director in a statement released by the association. “The board recognized that a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t what’s best for students across the state. By waiving policy to allow regional participation this fall, local school districts will have the discretion for participation in those areas that are able to do so safely per state directives.”

Left unresolved are those OSAA culminating weeks, although OSAA officials told Our Town that they would NOT include district championship competition. One could see fairly painless assembling of fields for state golf, tennis, cross country. wrestling and track and field championships, but the challenges of holding large gatherings and whether to allow spectators remain out there.

A four-team or eight-team basketball, baseball or softball state tournament could be accomplished in a week, but first you would have to figure out who those four or eight teams are.

A state football championship is inconceivable in a one-week scenario although one OSAA official noted the possibility of football “bowl games.”

Something tells me we haven’t heard the last word on this one. There will be tweaks. Stay tuned.

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