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OHSAA: Fall sports athletes all are eligible

The Ohio High School Athletic Association is making all students entering grades 7 through 12 academically eligible for the fall sports season, according to a release sent to schools Friday.

The announcement came in a memo from OHSAA executive director Jerry Snodgrass that touched on a variety of topics, the most notable being eligibility for fall athletes.

“Due to the wide range of academic grades being given for classwork during the final grading period, all students entering grades 7-12 will be eligible for 2020 fall sports insofar as academic eligibility is concerned,” the memo read.

The news comes after the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in Gov. Mike DeWine shutting schools down on March 16.

The OHSAA initially considered using students’ grades from the third grading period, prior to schools being shut down, which forced students to learn from home. They have now decided against that formula.

The memo also noted that transfer students will not suffer the regularly mandated consequences during the spring season of 2021. The student will, however, be held accountable to the consequences for any fall or winter sport in which he or she participated in during the 12 months preceding the transfer.

All 2020 spring sports were canceled, but several teams competed in scrimmages and other preseason events. However, students who did participate in the spring will not be held accountable for those competitions, in regards to the transfer rule, according to the memo.

The release also said students who graduated in 2020 will not be granted an extra year or season of eligibility.

“At the time of this communication, 44 states have responded to a survey and none will be providing this option for students,” the memo stated.

Schools were permitted to start practicing as of Friday. The OHSAA allowed low-contact sports (baseball, golf, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field) to begin “competing” on May 29, as long as they follow the Responsible RestartOhio guidelines created by DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health. Again, spring sports were canceled, but training is allowed for those sports.

Contact sports are limited to skill training and conditioning, meaning no contests or scrimmages of any sort, according to the release, “including, but not limited to, team camps, any type of event with another team, games, scrimmages, tournaments, etc.” The sessions also must follow the RestartOhio restrictions.

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