Petition calls for changes to sports restrictions in Ohio

Northmont's Rod Moore (10) tries to tackle Springfield's Jeff Tolliver on Sept. 20, 2019, at Springfield High School. Photo by Michael Cooper
Northmont's Rod Moore (10) tries to tackle Springfield's Jeff Tolliver on Sept. 20, 2019, at Springfield High School. Photo by Michael Cooper

Credit: Michael Cooper

Credit: Michael Cooper

Current testing requirements could be impossible for high schools to meet

More than 40,000 people have signed a petition calling for a change to restrictions on athletic competitions in Ohio.

Hosted by change.org, the online petition was started by user Joshua Fahey.

It reads:

“The stipulations to play contact sports in Ohio currently is that players and coaches will need to be tested 72 hours before EVERY game/scrimmage this season. Any player who has tested positive is not allowed to play, and the team’s contest is canceled. The coaches and players must have their COVID test in hand before the start of the game. I believe this is intrusive, excessive, expensive, and unnecessary if you have no symptoms. We should not have to be required to test in order to play. I also think it sets the entire season up for failure causing a ripple effect when one person tests positive. A temperature reading should suffice and a check for any symptoms Related to COVID. The order is set to expire on July 31st, 2020, and I am hoping they remove this stipulation for the 2020 season.”

- Change.org petition

The order was initially filed in July and identified as temporary, at least in part to allow The Basketball Tournament to take place in Columbus.

It allows practice in all sports but restricts inter-team competition in football, soccer, basketball, rugby, field hockey, lacrosse, wrestling, hockey, futsal and martial arts with opponents.

Inter-team competitions in noncontact sports have been going on in the state for much of the summer and are cleared for the fall.

In subsequent interviews with this newspaper, local athletics officials expressed concerns about the feasibility of conducting mass testing regularly for their athletes, something the organizers of TBT were able to do while maintaining a “bubble” for participants that limited interaction between players and the outside world for roughly two weeks.

ExploreMultiple leagues announce plans to change schedules this fall

Interim Ohio Dept. of Health director Lance Himes signed an extension of the order Saturday, the same day fall high school sports were allowed to begin practice.

The order extends until Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine declares a state of emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic to be over or until Himes rescinds or modifies it.

It covers not only high school and youth sports but also college and pro contact sports.