The remainder of all winter tournaments and the start of the spring season are suspended indefinitely due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on public gatherings over 100 people, according to the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA). Those winter tournaments included the girls state basketball tournament, the state individual wrestling tournament, the state ice hockey tournament and the boys regional and state basketball tournaments.

The announcement was made after state and local officials recommended that, in order to help stop the spread of the virus, no large public gatherings take place. All local schools are closed at least through the beginning of April and some colleges are closed to in-person instruction through the end of the spring semester.

“We will use this time to work with the appropriate state authorities and health experts to determine our next steps moving forward,” said Snodgrass in the news release. “We realize this is disappointing for our participants and their fans, but the overall health and safety of everyone involved in our tournaments is our priority.”

Snodgrass also announced a mandatory “no-contact” period now through April 5, which prohibits any coach, paid or volunteer, approved by the Board of Education to provide coaching, instruction or supervising conditioning and physical fitness programs or open gyms to members of a school team in their sports.

Tentatively, teams can begin on April 6 mandatory practices and/or acclimatizations if required. If that time frame is met, all spring scrimmages and regular-season contests can tentatively begin on April 11, with the spring tournaments remaining on dates as currently scheduled.

For all teams, the “non-interscholastic rule” remains in effect. Teams cannot participate in any non-school sport in the same season if they have already participated in a scrimmage or contest for the school team in that sport.

Regarding spring out-of-state travel for games and tournaments, OHSAA is urging schools to cancel trips if they can. If schools cannot cancel and receive a refund, OHSAA said it has no choice but to permit it to continue. No new trips may be scheduled that have not previously been scheduled and any contest played will be counted toward the total number permitted.

Contact this reporter at jkopanski@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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