Parma superintendent leading push to move fall contact sports to spring, sending letter to OHSAA

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PARMA, Ohio (WJW) — Today, Parma City Schools Superintendent Charles Smialek sent a letter, which included a bevy of other area superintendent signatures, to the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) urging the organization to allow districts to move certain contact sports seasons from fall to spring.

As it stands now OHSAA is allowing sports to resume this fall (although high school football will only include six games if Gov. Mike DeWine agrees), but today’s letter is working to change that for football and soccer.

School districts that are in agreement with the petition include: Bay Village, Bedford, Berea, Brecksville‐Broadview Heights, Brooklyn, Brunswick, Cleveland Heights‐University Heights, Cleveland Metropolitan, Cuyahoga Heights, Euclid, Fairview Park, Garfield Heights, Lakewood, Maple Heights, North Olmsted, North Royalton, Parma, Rocky River, Shaker Heights, Solon, South Euclid‐Lyndhurst, Warrensville Heights and Westlake.

The letter was sent prior to Gov. DeWine’s Tuesday press conference, when he is expected to speak about the fate of fall sports in Ohio schools.

Read the full letter bellow:

An Open Letter from School Superintendents to the Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Directors and Interim Executive Director Bob Goldring

August 17, 2020

We are collectively asking the Ohio High School Athletic Association to allow school districts who deem it to be best for the welfare of their students to move selected 2020 fall sports to the spring.

Even though many school districts are moving to an online instructional format only, OHSAA continues to move forward with the start of fall sports. Contact sports are limited to practice-only status while noncontact sports are permitted to conduct interschool (school v. school) competition. OHSAA has announced that fall contact sports will transition to a condensed schedule if interschool (school v. school) competition is not permitted by September 4, 2020.

The OHSAA’s current approach presents overwhelming challenges for all school districts. This is especially true for those in an online instructional format only based on recommendations from local health agencies. The end result, of course, is the inequitable treatment of our student-athletes.

We acknowledge the health considerations underlying OHSAA’s approach; however, we collectively believe there is a better approach that is more inclusive and will better serve the needs of all studentathletes during these trying times.

Move Fall Sports to the Spring

Moving the fall sports season to the spring will:

• Offer a safer environment for student-athletes and coaches

• Allow all of our student-athletes to be treated equally without regard to their sport or the county in which their school is located

• Provide a better opportunity for our student-athletes to enjoy a full interscholastic sports experience

• Minimize the risk of outbreak during the fall that could further delay a school’s ability to open for in-person instruction

• Afford student-athletes and their parents safe and dependable athletic programming

• Avoid placing an undue burden on school districts to justify conducting fall sports when instructional activities are occurring only online

Moving selected fall sports to the spring will best serve these interests of schools, student-athletes, and parents. The OHSAA’s current approach is inequitable, impractical and a disservice to the schools and students it serves. We therefore ask that the OHSAA Board of Directors and its Interim Executive Director Bob Goldring immediately reconsider their position on this matter and issue an amendment to its Bylaws or other order to allow districts to move selected fall sports to the spring if they deem it best for their student-athletes.

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