In an effort to help address some questions received over the weekend on spring sports, below is information provided from the OHSAA on Saturday, 3/14. Click on the link within the article for further Q & A’s:
TO: Ohio High School Baseball Coaches and Athletic Administrators
FROM: Emily Gates, Director of Sport Management
MEMO: Address of Non-School Baseball Participation and “Sandlot/Corona Baseball” During Shut Down Period
With the implementation of the 3-week break from the OHSAA and the Governor’s office, I know there are evolving questions about student athletes working with non-school programs during this break, especially with the implementation of the sandlot and “Corona Baseball” leagues that are spreading on Twitter. These are of large concern and I know you all have many questions. I have attached this communication as a document, if that is an easier way to share it–please feel free to share this information on any platform.
I hope the following information can help you all navigate and address these questions you have, along with the student athletes, parents and non-school coaches. I want to start by saying I truly appreciate every single one of you communicating this with your athletes, parents and communities to make sure they remain eligible for the school season.
Quick note: I want to make clear that you are still able to have communication with your student athletes, we are simply asking for no physical interaction, participation or instruction during this time.
Quick note #2: This document is addressing questions about student athletes participating on non-school programs during this time. Please remember that students should NOT be practicing or participating together. If there is anything organized by parents or players, this should be highly discouraged by the school coaches and administrators.
Here are some items that should assist you in navigating this scenario. Please note: in some of the communication I might directly mention the sandlot teams, but this would apply to all non-school programs (sandlot leagues, working with their summer teams, recreation leagues, etc.):
- Our non-interscholastic rule states that a student is considered a member of their school team once they have participated in a scrimmage or contest for their school team. If they have not yet participated in a scrimmage for the school, they are permitted to participate with non-school programs, which is covered in General Sport Regulation 7.
- If this applies and they have not yet participated in a scrimmage for your school, they would be able to participate on one of these sandlot teams, but they MUST remember that they are still limited to 4 players from the same school.
- My understanding of these teams is that they are trying to organize entire (more than 4 players from each school) school baseball teams participating together, and this would NOT be permitted.
- If they participate with more than 4 from the same school, they would be in violation of the rule and the penalty is ineligibility for the school team.
- If they have participated in a scrimmage for your school team, they are not permitted to play for a non-school program, including a sandlot league.
- If they violate this regulation, they are ineligible for the remainder of the school season and would not be permitted to return.
All of this aside, the school coach(es) and school administrators are always allowed to NOT permit participation on a non-school team as soon as they begin practicing with the school team. That is always the case with our non-interscholastic rule, regardless of this 3-week no-contact period. If your school is instructing your players to not participate in these sandlot leagues (or any non-school program), I would hope it is apparent to your players to follow your instruction. If not, it could jeopardize their eligibility and return to the school team.
A short summary that you and/or your players need to figure out:
- Have those wanting to participate with a non-school program, participated in a scrimmage for your school team? If they have, they cannot participate on a sandlot team (or any non-school program) without jeopardizing their return to the school team.
- Have the school coaches/administrators restricted participation on a sandlot team (or any non-school program)? This would be an obvious choice to listen to your school administrators if they have instructed their players to not participate.
- If they have NOT participated in a scrimmage for your school (and your school coaches/administrators have not restricted non-school participation), student athletes are allowed to participate with a non-school program, but there can be NO MORE THAN 4 from the same school on one of these teams. This INCLUDES practicing together. So even if you “say” these 4 are on this team and these 4 are on another, but you’re all practicing and playing together, that would be a violation.
I, personally, feel inclined to also mention that our office highly discourages student athletes participating with any non-school programs, even if they are deemed “eligible” to do so. The purpose of this 3-week break is to decrease gatherings and practice social distancing, as Ohioans truly do have a role in ‘flattening the curve’. I hope we are all working together to communicate the severity of this pandemic that is absolutely present and growing across the nation, but especially across the state of Ohio. We are trying to do our part in limiting the exposure and we ask you to help us do that.
Thank you for your patience, understanding and cooperation during this time that is hard to navigate for us all. I kindly ask that you review this information, as well as the memo and Q & A’s that were released yesterday (Friday, March 13) prior to sending any questions, as our office is receiving a high volume of inquiries. This memo is posted on the front page of our website and the link to the Q and A’s are within that memo. Here is the link to the communication for quick reference:
I am happy to help in any way I can and appreciate your patience if I am unable to get back to you right away due to the high volume.
Director of Sport Management | Ohio High School Athletic Association
4080 Roselea Place, Columbus, Ohio 43214