On May 22, the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association’s board of directors voted down a proposal that would have paved the way toward a phased return to high school sports in the state.
Tulsa World reports that the vote was split 7-6, and was divided mostly along regional lines. Three of the six votes in favor of the plan came from board members who represent the state’s more populous counties — who have encountered COVID-19 more closely. Meanwhile, three of the seven no votes came from counties that combined represent just 17 confirmed COVID-19 cases and zero fatalities.
Those voting against the proposal indicated that the phased approach the plan called for was too restrictive.
“We wanted to try to put the best plan together that we thought made sense and gave us the best opportunity to get to the fall and have fall activities,” OSSAA executive director David Jackson told Tulsa World.
The plan, which was developed in consultation with entities such as the CDC, the Oklahoma Department of Health and the National Federation of State High School Association’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, called for a three-phased approach similar to what is unfolding at the NCAA level.
The phased plan outlined protocols for allowing coaches to interact face-to-face with student-athletes for strength and conditioning sessions in different athletic facilities.
Since Friday’s vote, Jackson said he’s been fielding calls and emails from districts looking to implement the plan on their own. Many in the Tulsa and Oklahoma City areas have committed to moving forward with the phased approach independently.