Sports fields in Banks on August 5, 2020. Photo: Chas Hundley

The Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) Executive Board announced on Monday, Dec. 7 that school sports would be pushed back to start season 2 practices in February.

“The OSAA Executive Board was hopeful that the state’s landscape was going to improve when it adopted the current calendar back in August, but that has not proven to be the case as COVID‐19 cases continue to rise, county risk level metrics have changed and restrictions on prohibited activities have not been lifted by the Governor’s Office and Oregon Health Authority,” an OSAA press release read. 

Under the new schedule, season 2 competitions could start in March, with practices starting Feb. 8 for football, and Feb. 22 for cross country, soccer, and volleyball.

Under current COVID-19 regulations, however, football, which is a full-contact sport, is still barred by the Oregon Health Authority and the governor’s office, so unless that prohibition is listed, Feb. 8 will come and go without football. 

And under the recently announced county framework that lists Washington County under the “Extreme Risk” category, Volleyball, an indoor sport, will not be allowed either unless Washington County drops below the current risk status.

Season 3 sports (baseball, softball, golf, tennis, and track and field) are scheduled to start practices April 5 and begin competitions on April 12.

Season 4 sports (basketball, swimming and wrestling) are scheduled to start practices May 10 and hold competitions on May 17.

All seasons will be shortened to six weeks. 

“Yesterday's announcement by the Executive Board of the OSAA gives us some hope,” Banks High School Athletic Director Ben Buchanan said in an email to the Banks Post. 

“By pushing winter sports to season 4, basketball and wrestling now have a chance to play season but only if the OHA and governor lift their ban on full-contact sports,” Buchanan noted.

Buchanan said he hoped that by May, Oregon’s students could be back in school if a COVID-19 vaccine has brought the state’s coronavirus pandemic numbers to a better place. 

“My immediate concern now is football and volleyball since their season begins in February,” Buchanan said. “As it stands right now, football would not be allowed to play considering the ban on full-contact sports. Volleyball could not play because indoor sports are not allowed when your county is in an extreme risk state.  There are some things that need to happen for all of our athletes to participate this winter/spring and I am hopeful this will happen. Go Braves!”

“Today’s decision by the Executive Board is another reminder of the impact the pandemic has had on Oregon students and schools,” said, OSAA Executive Director Peter Weber in a Dec. 7 press release. “While disappointed that we need to adjust our original schedule, we believe that keeping three distinct seasons, albeit in shortened seasons, maintains potential opportunities for all students moving forward.”

Read the full press release with more information on school sports and schedules from the OSAA here.