What’s Happened to High School Sports?

The Tigard and Tualatin football season has been delayed until Feb. 22 along with the rest of the fall season of sports. The amount of football games has also been reduced to seven games. Photo by Henry Kaus.
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UPDATE Sept. 15, 2020

Beginning Sept. 28, the Tigard-Tualatin School District (TTSD) is allowing high school athlete participation in season one of sports – the practice season – while following the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) guidelines.

Currently, neither TTSD high schools have plans to include contests with other schools during season one as they are still waiting on guidance from the OSAA.

Each conditioning season of sports will have one month of practices from Sept. 28 until the start of season two – winter sports – on Dec. 28:

  • Spring Conditioning: Sept. 28 – mid-October
  • Fall Conditioning: Mid-October – Thanksgiving Break
  • Winter Conditioning: End of November – Dec. 27

Virtual plans for Choir and Band’s reentry have been submitted for approval, and plans for Dance and Cheer are currently in progress.

ORIGINAL Sept. 2, 2020

From being postponed, out of order or even canceled, the 2020-2021 sports seasons will be unlike any other when it starts four months from now.

The Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) decided to shift from the traditional year-round sports calendar and condense the three sports seasons while adding a practice season due to the ever-growing concern over COVID-19. The sports seasons will each last seven weeks and occur between the end of December and June:

  • Practice Season: Aug. 31 – Dec. 27
  • Winter Sports: Dec. 28 – Mar. 6
  • Fall Sports: Feb. 22 – May 1 & 8
  • Spring Sports: Apr. 19 – June 26

Each of the traditional seasons will consist of two practice weeks and seven competition weeks followed by a culminating week. Although the specifics of a ‘culminating week’ have yet to be decided, it will act as an event for each sport to cap off the season.

This action was taken in alignment with most OSAA member schools participating in distance learning for at least the first two months of the school year.

This differs from the OSAA’s July announcement to delay the fall sports season by one month with high school football delayed indefinitely due to its close-contact nature.

In delaying the sports seasons, the OSAA Executive Board decided to waive the current out-of-season coaching policy, which typically prohibits out-of-season sporting events, to allow student participation this fall.

“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,” OSAA Executive Director Peter Weber said.

The practice season will begin Aug. 31. The practices, sports and activities permitted will not be designated by the OSAA as usual but by each school district.

Season two, the winter sports season, is set to begin on Dec. 28 with swimming, wrestling and basketball. As the season will only last until Mar. 6, Basketball will only contain 14 games.

Tigard and Tualatin basketball is the first up to start its season on Dec. 28 with the rest of Winter Sports. Photo by Henry Kaus.

Season three, fall sports, starts Feb. 22 with cross country, volleyball, soccer and football. These sports will finish up May 1 with football as the exception since it will last until May 8 with only seven games. Water polo, a non-OSAA organized sport, was recently canceled all-together by the Oregon High School Water Polo association after reviewing the guidance from the CDC, Governor’s mandate, OHA and OSAA.

“Cross country, soccer and football are outdoor activities, and if we can play those in March or April, that’s probably a better scenario than January or February,” Weber told OSAAtoday.

Season four, spring sports, is set to begin Apr. 19 with golf, tennis, track and field, baseball and softball. Baseball and softball will only consist of 18 games until finishing up on June 26.

For students to play in a contest against another school, they must participate in at least nine practice days prior to the competition unless they played in the previous sports season.

The sports and activities that have no defined season were all set to start practices Aug. 31. This includes cheerleading, dance and drill, speech, solo music, choir, band and orchestra. All of which have different culminating weeks between Mar. 13 and May 16.

“Today’s decisions by the Executive Board provides a framework to maximize the potential opportunity for students in Oregon to participate in three seasons during the 2020-21 school year,” Weber said. “Nearly all schools are going to have to spend a significant part of the fall in comprehensive distance learning and that will present challenges in terms of the ability to offer opportunities to students in some areas. So, moving the season allows for those opportunities.”

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