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By Joey McWilliams
David Jackson said he knows it has been a long time since March.
The executive director of the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association (OSSAA) said in a Zoom conference with state media that he knows people are ready to see and play sports again.
“We know that lots of people are wanting to get back to our activities, but staying safe has to be the priority for us,” Jackson said.
“And we are trying to find that balance to be able to provide those activities and to be able to do so in the safest manner we can.”
Jackson said the intention of the OSSAA is to try to go ahead with activities as they have been scheduled and to play sports in the regular times those sports are usually played.
“Based on (the information) we have right now, our plan is to move forward with our activities as planned. It is to move forward as scheduled with those activities, knowing that if we do get started, there may be interruptions where we have to stop and then we get started again.”
Jackson said other options were being considered as well and that ‘all things are on the table.’ He said the OSSAA is monitoring not only what other high school associations across the country are doing, but also how state colleges and universities are handling the current issues.
There are contingency plans in place with which the OSSAA can move forward with activities in 2020-2021. Among those include shortened seasons, truncated playoff series and even moving all fall sports into the spring semester, which Jackson noted was a worst-case scenario.
“The initial thought for (playing all sports in the spring) is to play condensed seasons for fall, winter and spring sports,” Jackson said.
“They could be eight-week seasons or 10-week seasons. That would take us through June in either of those scenarios in finishing, but it would still try to provide opportunities for those kids.”
This situation would be challenging for multi-sport athletes.
“If we had to move them to the spring, we would still separate the sports as best we could between the fall, winter and spring sports and we would still try to arrange games even within that to try to reduce the overlap.
“There’s no way we would be able to completely eliminate that overlap if we did move to the spring, but again, we’re in a very different time with our activities. And our goal is to provide them in some manner. It’s not going to be ideal. We know there are going to be some problems, but we going to try to provide the activities.”
Jackson also noted that with shortened seasons and playoff series, schedules may be changed in sports with district play to eliminate non-district games. And he said there was not yet a day circled at which the OSSAA was going to shut things down and push fall sports into the next calendar year.
“We’re going to again go forward as planned. But the information changes so often and we may get to a point that pushes us in a different direction.
“But we haven’t set a date as to if we are going to eliminate the season or to move the sports to the spring.”