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OSSAA amends policy to address COVID-19

Tulsa Metro Christian players celebrates after beating Vian in the Class 2A state title game last season. Under a rule change by the OSSAA, teams won't be forced to forfeit a game, even one in district play if they can't play because of COVID-19. [BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN]
Tulsa Metro Christian players celebrates after beating Vian in the Class 2A state title game last season. Under a rule change by the OSSAA, teams won't be forced to forfeit a game, even one in district play if they can't play because of COVID-19. [BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN]

The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association board of directors voted 12-0 Thursday to amend the OSSAA's policy for handling school activities that are interrupted by health concerns or other emergency circumstances.

The amended policy directly addresses what will happen if a game must be postponed because one of the schools is temporarily closed because of COVID-19.

Under the old policy, if one of the participating schools was closed, then that team had to forfeit the contest.

Under the amended policy, schools must attempt to reschedule a postponed non-district game. If rescheduling isn’t possible, the game can be canceled.

If the postponement involves a district game, schools must try within 48 hours to agree on a new date to play the game before the postseason. District games are particularly important in football, Class 6A-2A fastpitch softball, dual wrestling, soccer and Class 6A-2A spring baseball because they determine postseason seeding.

Cashion football coach Lynn Shackelford is in favor of the amended policy but isn’t sure if 48 hours is enough time to reschedule a game.

“I love the fact that they’re open-minded and that they’re trying to make some rules and give us a template to be able to go by,” Shackelford said. “I just think it’s a work in progress. I don’t think you can bank on anything right now.”

If two schools cannot agree on a new date, winning percentages for teams in the district will determine seeding and marginal points will not be considered to break ties.

If two or more teams have the same winning percentage, the highest playoff position will go to the team that beat the other tied teams.

If head-to-head outcomes do not break the tie, it will be determined by lot. A coin toss is one method the OSSAA has used when determining placement by lot.

The OSSAA has not announced what method it will use in the future.

Once the highest playoff position is set, the next-highest seed will go to the team that beat the other tied teams. If this doesn’t break the tie, it will be determined by lot.

This process will repeat until all playoff positions are determined.

Overall, the amended policy seems like a step in the right direction, according to coaches.

“I wouldn’t want to be excluded from the playoffs because we had to forfeit,” Moore football coach Brad Hill said.

Nick Sardis

Nick Sardis joined The Oklahoman in 2017, and he covers high school sports. Born and raised in Norman, he played baseball at Norman North High School and is a student at the University of Oklahoma. Read more ›

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