2020 Winter Sports Season Changes

Source: Dreamstime.com

By Emily Saul

November 24, 2020

One of the most disappointing things COVID-19 has caused is the cancellations/changes in sports. It’s not just disappointing for the athletes, but for the spectators, coaches and parents. 

Fall sports weren’t as concerning to health officials and athletic directors because most of them were outdoors. However, as the winter season approaches, basketball players, wrestlers, bowlers, swimmers, and other winter athletes are growing concerned about what their season will look like. 

The Ohio High School Athletic Association has confirmed that winter sports will be moving forward. However, this sports season will look very different than last year’s, of course. 

All teams are required to be screened before practices and games. Screening includes questions like, “Have you had a cough in the last 24 hours,” along with other symptoms, “Are you currently waiting on results to a COVID-19 test,” “Has anyone in your family tested positive for COVID-19,” etc. Players and spectators will also not be allowed to be within six feet of each other when at all possible. This will be easier for sports like swimming and bowling but difficult for contact sports like wrestling and basketball.

These precautions are no different from those of the fall season. However, schools will have to be more strict when it comes to disinfecting and social distancing since everything will be indoors. So ,if you were able to get away with not sitting on those X’s on the bleachers at the football games, it’s not likely to be as lax of an environment at basketball games. 

Precautions for players during a game include the basic COVID-19 precautions: social distancing and wearing a mask while not playing. Basketball players will be required to sit six feet away from each other on the sidelines, meaning any players who cannot fit on the sidelines will have to be sitting in the stands. Cheerleaders will also not be permitted to travel to any away games this season, as well as will be required to cheer in the stands, as cheering on the sidelines causes them to get too close to the players and officials. There will also be no tournaments this year.

The biggest difference for players is the stress of not knowing how long of a season they may have. The cases in Ohio are at a higher spike than ever, reaching new records every few days. It’s very possible the season will be cut short for any sport.