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OSSAA executive director David Jackson says fall sports are still on as scheduled

Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association executive director David Jackson spoke to reporters in a Zoom meeting Thursday morning, answering questions about the state of Oklahoma high school sports.

With fall sports seasons scheduled to begin in nearly a month, Jackson explained how the OSSAA will proceed as the coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep the nation.

Jackson reiterated Thursday the OSSAA plans to hold fall sports in the coming months. Moving fall sports to the spring also remains a possibility, Jackson said.  

Jackson said individual school districts will have the power to make decisions on several issues related to COVID-19. 

Here are the highlights from Jackson’s exchange with reporters.

Q: Is the OSSAA paying attention to how other states are handling this topic?  

A: We absolutely are. We know what Texas did a couple of days ago. … For instance, playing some activities or conducting their playoff series at different times for different classes, is that an option? I would tell you that everything is on the table. If it gives us a chance to get them played, we can certainly do something like that. 

With some schools going online and some schools making a decision to delay the start of their school year, how will activities be affected? 

That would be something up to the individual districts. I think schools are going to be opening in lots of different scenarios, where some will be totally virtual. Some are bringing kids back to the campus 100% and some are using a hybrid model, using both virtual and person-to-person instruction. So, we’re going to leave the decision to participate in activities up to that school because they’re going to be so different across the state in what their formats are going to look like.

What is the protocol for an athlete who tests positive for COVID-19? 

The school districts themselves are going to manage those scenarios. We don’t want to intervene. 

What are the protocols for football fans this fall? 

During the regular season, that is going to be a local-control issue. That local district is going to make that call. Once we get to postseason, when we take over the management of those games, we hope -- all I can tell you is we will hope -- to have fans at our games. 

What are the eligibility requirements for students who move to Oklahoma from states that have decided they won’t have fall sports? Will new students be allowed to immediately participate? 

Our eligibility rules as they’re written would not allow that unless the move was predicated by some unusual circumstance other than because of COVID. 

What is the plan if fall activities are moved to the spring? 

The initial thought for us is that we would play condensed seasons for our fall, winter and spring sports. We’d have to decide on the length of those seasons. They could be eight-week seasons, possibly 10-week seasons, for each of the fall, winter and spring sports. That would take us through June. 

If all sports are pushed back to the spring, would you consider playing the baseball spring championship series in June or July? 

Yes. We would want to do that to try to get our seasons in. We have already looked at if it comes to that, to where we’re playing all of our activities in the spring. We’re probably at best looking at finishing at the end of June. 

If everything does have to get moved to the spring, are athletes going to have to choose which sport they’re going to play instead of playing both? 

If we had to move all of the activities to the spring, we would still separate them as best we could between the fall, winter and spring seasons. And we would probably even arrange some of the activities within each of those seasons to try to [do] as best we could and with the information that we have, reduce the amount of overlap that we could. There’s no way we would be able to completely eliminate that overlap if we had to move to the spring, so there are going to be some scenarios where people would have to make a decision.

Related Photos
Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association executive director David Jackson sits in his office in Oklahoma City on Oct. 19, 2016. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association executive director David Jackson sits in his office in Oklahoma City on Oct. 19, 2016. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-fd6401ee61904ffa3eaa97b65af0364b.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association executive director David Jackson sits in his office in Oklahoma City on Oct. 19, 2016. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association executive director David Jackson sits in his office in Oklahoma City on Oct. 19, 2016. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association executive director David Jackson sits in his office in Oklahoma City on Oct. 19, 2016. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
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 ›

James Jackson

James D. Jackson joined The Oklahoman in January 2020 to cover high school sports. He a University of Central Oklahoma graduate. During his time at UCO, James served as a sports reporter and Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper, The Vista.... Read more ›

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