Ohio governor Mike DeWine has officially given the green light for high school football in his state to start next week.
DeWine notified the Ohio High School Athletic Association that it was cleared to sanction football and other contact sports, including soccer and field hockey.
DeWine teased the announcement last week, saying new guidelines for attendance and other protocols would be forthcoming.
"When our order comes out, we will not have spectators other than family members or people very close to that particular child," said DeWine, who noted that extends to marching bands.
DeWine clarified that some schools may have already made the decision to postpone sports for the time being.
"They have given the go ahead for schools that want to do that to move to the spring," DeWine Cleveland.com. "As we go through this, we know some schools are still deciding and some have already announced."
Tim Stried, OHSAA director of communications, confirmed a plan is being discussed for schools that will not play this fall.
“For those schools that are not going to play sports this fall, participation opportunities for those student-athletes is the most important thing,” Stried said. “We’re going to work with the governor’s office on those participation opportunities. The good news is we can move forward with all of our fall sports and have tournaments and championships this fall, but we will certainly develop a task force to look at participation opportunities this spring for those schools that did not play this fall.”
In the event that fall sports can’t happen, OHSAA has a backup plan that involves moving football, soccer and field hockey to the spring.
The move to resume high school sports comes after Ohio reported 861 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. That number is down from the 21-day average of 1,116 cases. Overall, Ohio has reported 109,923 cases since the pandemic began.