BROKEN ARROW FOOTBALL PRACTICE

Broken Arrow football player Connor Clark lifts weights during voluntary strengh and conditioning practice Monday, June 8, 2020. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World

The dead period is dead, at least for the summer of 2020.

The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association’s board of directors voted to suspend the mandated rest period this summer and considered a sobering economic picture during its June meeting via teleconference.

Executive director David Jackson said he was optimistic that state-sponsored fall activities could go forward “as planned” following the nearly three-month shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But, he said, the OSSAA staff is “working every day” on alternative scenarios in case more disruptions occur with the virus. He promised to update everyone in a special board meeting later this month or July.

Jackson reported that the OSSAA lost about $620,000 for canceling the state basketball tournaments and spring activities. Overall revenue is down nearly $1 million over the same period last year.

Revenue from fall sports would help cover the losses. Meanwhile, Jackson and his staff are looking at various cost-cutting measures, some of which were shared Tuesday.

Jackson also cautioned that the OSSAA must consider a worst-case possibility in which some, if not all, fall activities are wiped out. That would cause even greater deficits, erode the association’s reserve fund and “force us to look at some extreme measures we don’t want to consider,” he said.

Such measures might include cutting staff, but Jackson said he doesn’t want to do that.

“We have good personnel and we’re already operating on a ‘bare-bones’ situation where we’ve gotta have (the people) we have,” he said.

With little discussion, the board voted 14-0 to suspend the dead period set for June 27-July 5 when public school facilities must be closed to athletes and coaches may not have contact with their players.

Many feel an additional rest period isn’t necessary when schools already have been in what amounts to a dead period for three months.

Also, schools are starting to open for weight and conditioning drills. Many feel it is counterproductive to open for three weeks, close for nine days and then reopen so close to July 15 when preseason practice begins for fall activities like cross county, fall baseball, fast pitch softball and volleyball.

Jackson said: “Given the circumstances that our students were under at the end of the spring, we felt like the dead period, as scheduled, probably takes away from what we’re trying to accomplish.”

The first dead period ran June 29-July 7, 2019. Jackson emphasized that suspension of the policy is only for 2020.

Gallery: Broken Arrow football team returns to practice following COVID-19 isolation

Mike Brown

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