The Ohio High School Athletic Association is considering a shakeup of their sports offerings for 2020 to adapt to the COVID pandemic that has already cancelled schools, spring sports, and winter postseason tournaments across the country, according to a screenshot making its way around social media.
The Buckeye State is apparently considering moving football to the spring and baseball to the fall as part of their revised sports schedule. The thought behind the spring sports offerings seems to be centered on sports that can more naturally, or easily observe social distancing guidelines.
There are conflicting reports out there on whether the proposal is real or not, see it for yourself below.
After talking with a number of Ohio high school coaches yesterday about this, this is really picking up some steam as schools and coaches are faced with a limited summer schedule and the possibility that social distancing guidelines for fans and players at football games in the fall may would be a real challenge in the current climate.
There are a number of challenges and concerns that come with this shuffling of sports, one of which is the traditional recruiting timeline. Taking football as the example in this case, the NCAA recruiting calendar is based off football taking place in the fall. Moving the season to the spring would mean that both the early signing day and traditional signing day would take place before players stepped on a football field for their senior season. That may not affect a whole lot of Division I signees, but could certainly affect the FCS and D-II levels, and certainly beyond.
Then there's the issue of underclassmen playing football from March 1 - June 25th, and then turning around and resuming the traditional start of football again (assuming we have a solution to the pandemic) just a few weeks later in the fall of 2021. That's certainly less than ideal from a player development standpoint.
It's important to point out that Ohio is just weighing options at this point and exploring all their options. Pointing out those two issues are really just the tip of the iceberg, and a whole lot more will have to be considered with the proposal before a decision is actually made.
The state of Ohio has led the way with many decisions and changes that surrounding states like Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana have followed suit with during the COVID pandemic. If this were to come to fruition, expect states surrounding Ohio (and perhaps beyond) to consider following their lead.
Faced with the decision of a cancelled fall season, or playing football in the spring, most coaches are going to adjust as needed to have their season a little later than planned.