Gil Cloud, Tulsa Public Schools executive director of athletics, was not happy with what he watched Friday morning.
The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association board of directors rejected the organization’s proposed plan of COVID-19 guidelines during a Zoom meeting Friday morning. Cloud, along with hundreds of others, watched online as the board rejected the OSSAA’s plan with a 7-6 vote.
Those who voted against the proposed plan were Craig McVay (El Reno), Jason Sternberger (Kingfisher), Jerry Needham (Oktaha), Rusty Puffinbarger (Leedey), Rex Trent (Binger-Oney), Bryan McNutt (Antlers) and Don Schneberger (Boone-Apache). Voting in favor were Rick Pool (Kiowa), Darren Melton (Lincoln Christian), Duane Merideth (Durant), Mike Simpson (Guthrie), Dr. Sean McDaniel (OKCPS) and Jerry Olanson (Glenpool).
“I watched the meeting, and I am very disappointed in the seven OSSAA board members that showed such a gross disregard for the 7-12 grade student-athletes in Oklahoma,” Cloud said Saturday.
The proposed plan, which included three phases, would have allowed summer activities to return June 1 with several precautions because of COVID-19.
In Phase 1, team practices were still banned, but one-on-one instruction was allowed. Strength and conditioning programs would have been permitted, but everyone would get their temperature checked and wash their hands or use sanitizer before touching equipment. Equipment, including weights, balls and bats, would have to be disinfected between each user.
With the plan failing, summer activities could return immediately with no COVID-19 restrictions. Guidelines and return dates are now up to local school districts.
“The staff did their job and presented an equitable plan for all schools in the state,” Cloud said. “Urban and suburban schools, in this area, will be meeting next week to determine how we can return to play while still protecting our students and our coaching staff members.”
Oklahoma City Public Schools announced Saturday morning that it will still follow the plan proposed by the OSSAA, even though it was rejected. OKCPS superintendent Sean McDaniel is a member of the board and voted for the proposed plan.
“(Friday), the OSSAA Board rejected the ‘Phase-in Plan for Oklahoma Secondary Schools’ that was researched and recommended by the OSSAA staff with the safety and welfare of student-athletes and coaches in mind,” OKCPS athletic director Todd Dilbeck said in a statement. “The result of the Board’s action allows for summertime activities to commence as outlined in the Administrator’s Handbook. OKCPS has opted, instead, to follow the guidance that the OSSAA executive director and his staff have provided. Watch for additional information next week.”