A clarification of a June amendment to the potential impact of COVID-19 on athletic contests was sent to football coaches last week.
The amendment, which dealt with district games postponed by a COVID outbreak, dealt with the impact of games not played that are not able to be rescheduled and the consequence of that being no forfeiture by the impacted team.
The email which the Phoenix obtained a copy of Tuesday, said a forfeiture would occur. In football, that involves both a loss and the maximum 15 marginal points differential, which would equate it with an outcome of a played game in which the victory margin was 15 points or higher.
OSSAA associate director Mike Whaley, who sent the email to superintendents, principals, athletic directors and football coaches, said in an email to the Phoenix on Tuesday that the no-game ruling only impacted schools that were closed and that virtual learning was not a part of that. Multiple schools are on either virtual learning entirely or as an option for students.
But, virtual learning was what schools had in place last spring, and all spring sports seasons were canceled.
Also, each school has its own jurisdiction on how to address closures, virtual learning or cancelations. Haskell, for example, is the only school in Muskogee County that has used the county numbers rather than campus numbers and are in the middle of a two-week football shutdown. Haskell opens district play Sept. 25 against Kiefer.
The email suggested that two games could be played in a week’s time to make up for the postponement. Once district play starts, the only teams that have open weeks are those in districts with an odd number of teams and then only if the school left-out of a weekly rotation did not originally schedule a non-district game in that slot.
In theory, with games canceled and not forfeited, a team could play a limited number of games against lower-tier teams in a district and have canceled games be against district title contenders. In that case, applying the won-loss percentage as a tiebreaker, the higher-tier team would have to run the table to have a chance of overtaking an unbeaten team in limited games.
A spot check of some area softball coaches indicated none that got a similar letter. Whaley did later Tuesday say the measure applied to all sports which play a round-robin style district schedule, which would be 2A-6A fastpitch, soccer and 2A-6A baseball as well as football.