Philomath High School Reader Board
Philomath High School (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)
Editor’s note: This blog was updated Friday morning with information involving cross-country’s plans to still have a 4A state meet.

The Oregon School Activities Association’s executive board during a work session on Wednesday decided to skip state championships for the “fall sports” teams set to compete in the coming weeks. Instead, the schools themselves can come up with how to approach a season’s final week, which the OSAA has been calling the “culminating week.”

The fall sports include football, volleyball, soccer and cross-country with seasons beginning March 1 and ending with that culminating week from April 5-11.

During the meeting, the executive board discussed realities associated with holding large-scale events during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This lengthens the already truncated season and provides additional participation opportunities for all students at all levels in a program,” an OSAA press release stated. “The board directed staff to support schools as they organize these events at the local/regional level.”

In the release, the board added that it did “not want to put any undue pressure on schools to participate in a statewide event that could potentially place their students and school community at risk.”

In addition, Oregon Health Authority recommendations advise restricting unnecessary travel between counties, especially when they are at different risk levels. The group felt that requiring schools to travel across the state with the potential for overnight stays for events would not be recommended

“The board has spent a lot of time on this over the last couple months,” OSAA executive director Peter Weber said in an OSAAtoday article. “The realities of trying to conduct large events, given where things stand right now, didn’t seem advisable in their minds. A lot of different issues come into play.”

In the OSAAtoday article, Weber said the board considered the different dynamic of a championship event for cross-country, an individual sport, and the other team sports, which require more time for playoff rounds. But overriding factors remained.

“Part of it goes back to where things are in the state right now,” Weber said in the story. “The idea of schools staying local and regional for their regular season, then to turn around in the sixth week and say, ‘OK, now we’re going to put that aside and brings kids from all over the state to one location,’ if we could even find a location to do that, just didn’t make sense to the board at this point.”

PHS Coach Joe Fulton said plans continue to finalize a non-OSAA state cross-country meet for 4A schools on April 10 with Tillamook and Lane Community College in Eugene mentioned as possibilities. In fact, Fulton expects 4A athletic directors will make an announcement that they want championships in all 4A sports. Obviously, I’ll follow up and share that news when it happens.

By the way, the culminating week is not limited to varsity only with junior varsity and freshman squads also able to participate.

The executive board has not yet made any decisions on culminating week events for Season 3 (spring sports teams) and Season 4 (winter sports teams).

The board reaffirmed its support for conducting virtual events for cheerleading, dance/drill, orchestra, choir and other events.

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