OSSAA Board Rejects Rules For Phased Opening Of Summer Sports

May 22, 2020

The body that oversees high school sports narrowly voted Friday to not approve rules to phase in summer activities.

The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association board of directors voted 7-6 Friday to reject a proposed plan that would have eased into high school sport summer activities.

The rejection paves the way for schools to begin hosting sporting clinic and camps the first week of June as long as there aren’t any superseding local or state restrictions.

OSSAA Board President Cecilia Robinson-Woods does not have a vote on the board – she can only vote to break a tie. But she says she was disappointed they weren’t passed.

“We don’t feel good not having guidance out there,” Robinson-Woods said. “As far as we know, this [guidance] is the best way to keep your kids safe.”

The board had an urban-rural fracture on the guidance, said Robinson-Woods, who is also superintendent of Millwood Public Schools in northeastern Oklahoma City. Members from rural districts said they were concerned about following too strict of rules before the vote was struck down.

“The board split on whether or not those guidelines were appropriate for every part of the state,” she said. 

Besides safety concerns, Robinson-Woods said she is also troubled by creating a patchwork of athletic rules across Oklahoma that might allow some schools to engage in sports activities before others.

“This disease is affecting lots of communities differently,” she said. “So you have some places that need to stay within restrictions. So when you think about fair and competitive it’s not really fair that somebody who doesn’t have cases can start full blown practice and then the people that have cases or have local restrictions can’t start practicing.”

She said she hopes the OSSAA Board will hear new guidelines soon that will likely be optional soon to help keep student-athletes safe this summer and ensure that sports can be played next fall. 

Any guidelines could ultimately be superceded by rules from local governments or even the State Department of Education, she said.

As for the approximately 1,000 students attending the Millwood Public Schools district she oversees.

“We will be abiding by the guidelines,” she said.